Louisiana law enforcement agencies aggressively investigate and prosecute Internet sex crimes against minors (anyone under eighteen). The crime of “computer aided solicitation of a minor” became law in Louisiana on August 15, 2005. From that date to the present, law enforcement agencies at all levels have used the statute to conduct online investigations against “child predators.” Many of these Internet “stings” are proactive investigations in which officers pose online as teenagers to lure adult suspects. The officers “fish” online until an adult communicates with them, either in a chat room, by email, or instant messages. If the conversation becomes sexual, the adult “child predator” is electronically tracked, located, and arrested.
At trial, the Internet communications between the “teenager” (often an adult officer) and the accused adult “predator” are shown to the jury and provide devastating evidence. Based on the communication alone, the adult target of the investigation can be convicted of the offense without ever leaving his or her home or attempting to meet with anyone, and without ever communicating with a person actually under eighteen.
The penalties for violating the computer-aided solicitation statute are severe. Whoever commits the crime must register as a sex offender. And for a first offender, the statute requires a mandatory minimum sentence of two years and a possible maximum of ten years (along with a fine of up to $10,000). In other words, regardless of whether you have a clean record, you will receive at least two and possibly ten years in prison. The statute also specifically denies eligibility for probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
If you are charged under Louisiana’s computer-aided solicitation statute, you are in serious trouble and should seek counsel immediately. A number of defenses may be available to you. These defenses include entrapment, fantasy role-playing, the unconstitutionality of the statute itself, or the unconstitutionality of any search and seizure of evidence. Whether any of these or other potential defenses may be raised in your case requires careful evaluation by your attorney.
Michael A. Fiser, Attorney at Law, provides experienced and thorough defense of computer aided solicitation cases throughout Louisiana. Initial case consultations at our Baton Rouge office are free and confidential. If you have been accused, arrested, or indicted for computer aided solicitation in Louisiana, you need effective representation, and you need it now. Call our office today.