In April 2012, Tampa, Florida police arrested 49-year-old anesthesiologist James Murphy on 33 counts of possession of child pornography. Acting on a tip, officers executed a search warrant on Murphy's apartment and found thousands of images of child erotica on a hard drive. Thirty-three of the images were clearly child pornography. Though Murphy posted bond and was released, his privileges at Bayfront Medical Center have been revoked and he is on administrative leave.
Child Pornography Penalties
Florida criminalizes the viewing, possession, control, production and promotion of child pornography with harsh penalties. Prosecutors can charge a person with a separate felony offense each time the person views or accesses images and a separate offense for each image the person produces or possesses.
Under Florida law, the State can seek a third-degree felony for the viewing, possession or control of child pornography. A third-degree felony carries a possible prison sentence of five years, a $5,000 fine or both. The production or promotion of child pornography is second-degree felony in Florida and can result in up to 15 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. The penalties are worse if the person has a criminal history and some child pornography crimes require sex offender registration.
Only time will tell what will happen to James Murphy. Detectives indicated there is nothing suggesting Murphy came into immediate, physical contact with a child. Nevertheless, he is looking at spending several years behind bars for his actions.
Having an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial to navigating the criminal justice system, especially in such a specialized area as child pornography crimes. A defense attorney can make the proper legal arguments to keep you out of jail while the case proceeds, can file the right motions to try to suppress the evidence against you and can work with the prosecutor to reduce the charges and penalties.
If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal charges involving child pornography, contact an experienced and specialized defense attorney to discuss your situation, analyze your options and work to protect your rights.