U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. recently sentenced a 32-year-old Galt man to 17 ½ years in prison by for his role in the production of pornographic images involving children. In addition to his prison sentence, the man will be forced to live under lifetime supervised release after he serves his term. Investigators included the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is funded both by the state and federal government. Task forces such as these often work with local and federal law enforcement officials to track down anyone who produces, distributes, or possesses child pornography, especially online.
There are many different crimes associated with sexually explicit images of children. According to California Penal Code 311, it is a crime to possess, distribute, duplicate, transport, or produce child pornography, and task forces such as the one listed above are vicious in their attempts to catch anyone breaking the law. Depending on which section of the law an individual has been charged with, the penalties vary. This means, in effect, that most violations of CA PC 311 are ‘wobblers,’ meaning that it is at the discretion of prosecutors whether they will treat it as a misdemeanor or as a felony.
If an individual has been convicted of a misdemeanor child pornography charge, they can expect to spend up to $2,000 in fines and spend up to 1 year in county jail. However, if a person is convicted of a felony charge of child pornography, then they may face up to 8 years in state prison and hefty fines that reach up to $100,000. In the above case, it seems that the Galt man was given a sentence very close to the maximum felony penalty. This is likely because he admitted to court officers that he had not only taken sexually explicit pictures of at least 2 minor children, but also that a search of his home yielded over 20,000 videos and images related to child pornography. Additionally, task force members were able to receive at least 60 similar files from him during their investigation. All of these factors would have been taken into account during his trial and sentencing.