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Silence is golden

Just a short drive south of Orlando, law enforcement officials recently announced the arrests of eight men suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. Polk County Sheriff's Computer Crimes detectives said the suspects range in age from 21 to 63.

While the allegations they face are disturbing, so too is the frequency with which the suspects discussed alleged crimes with police officers, potentially incriminating themselves. From the brief descriptions of their arrests provided by investigators, it appears that a number of them ignored their Fifth Amendment rights to refuse to self-incriminate and their rights to speak to an attorney.

For example, last month Polk County detectives arrested a 26-year-old man at his Kissimmee home, where officers seized a laptop computer apparently containing a pair of child porn videos. The suspect then reportedly told detectives that "he had been viewing child pornography for years," according to a news report.

Did detectives advise the suspect of his Miranda rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning? We don't know from the news account. But it makes sense to make use of these protective rights, even if a suspect feels as if they want to unburden themselves about certain acts or behaviors.

The person might feel momentarily relieved to tell someone about their activities, which might or might not be illegal, but later regret discussing matters with police before talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Let's face it: police officers are not going to help a suspect. Anything said to them might be used against you in court.

And it's too often the case where a suspect can incorrectly or improperly state facts while being arrested. Adrenaline can be pumping and sometimes matters are overstated or skewed by emotion, but once they are said out loud to officers, cannot be retracted.

Discuss child pornography charges with someone who will be on your side, helping protect you: an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Horwitz & Citro, P.A., we have experience helping clients fight some of the most serious charges a person can face. Please see our Internet Sex Crimes page for more information about how our Orlando firm can serve you.