Defendant in 2009 PA Supreme Court Case Faces New Child Porn Charges
A Delaware County man whose 2005 conviction on thirty counts of Sexual Abuse of Children and Criminal Use of a Communication Facility was upheld in a major 2009 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision now faces new sex crimes charges. Anthony Diodoro of Folsom has been charged again with a similar array of criminal offenses after a probation officer allegedly found 72 child porn videos on Diodoro's laptop computer. If convicted, prosecutors say he faces a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence.
Diodoro was released on probation late last year after spending several months in prison for a previous child pornography conviction. That case was based on the presence of over 300 pornographic images discovered on Diodoro's personal computer in 2003. Following a conviction on all counts, Diodoro filed an appeal based on his claim that the evidence was insufficient to support a conclusion that he had knowingly possessed child pornography. He argued that the legal standard had not been met because the images had been automatically saved by the computer in a cache file.
A Pennsylvania Superior Court appellate panel agreed with Diodoro and overturned the conviction. But the Commonwealth successfully filed for en banc re-argument, meaning the case would be heard by the entire Superior Court. A majority affirmed the trial court's judgment, focusing on the concept of "control" as used to substantiate possession in the Pennsylvania criminal code. But two judges dissented, arguing that "there was no evidence that [Diodoro] exercised any directing influence," over the child pornography images "on his computer screen, e.g., by downloading, saving, or printing them."
Diodoro then appealed to the state's highest court, which affirmed in its holding that accessing and viewing child pornography on the Internet constituted "control" under the statute that made child pornography possession illegal. Upon the issuance of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in May of 2009, Diodoro began to serve his sentence, which included a probation period of five years. In response to the court's decision, the Pennsylvania General Assembly sought further clarity by amending 18 PA CSA § 6312 to explicitly identify intentional viewing of child pornography as a punishable offense.
Complex Legal Matters Can Take Years to Resolve
For individuals accused of any type of sex crime, including sexual assault, sexual battery, indecent exposure or statutory rape, a swift and aggressive legal defense is an important strategy. By intervening early, a potential defendant can head off felony charges or provide exculpatory evidence that can mitigate a prosecutor's rush to judgment.
Regardless of the circumstances behind the crime, a consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide insights about a potential client's options. By preparing an accused person's case for the long haul, an attorney will explore all factors that affect a defendant's rights and implicate the rules of evidence.