Hiring an expert
It is not my practice to hire an expert in every child pornography case. However, there may be a number of scenarios where an expert will be helpful. Perhaps the best scenario is where the defendant did not make a statement and there were multiple people that had access to the computer. Of course, there are many others. So as to not tip off the State, I am not prepared to detail how to use the expert in that scenario or any others. Instead, I will save same for my direct representation of clients or my consulting work. Needless to say, there is a lot to consider before rushing into this decision.
The first consideration is whether you are going to use the expert at trial or to just consult with. Keep in mind of course that if you are going to use the expert at trial, you will have to disclose this report to the State which will give them a huge advantage. Besides getting a better idea as to your trial strategy, they will be able to patch the holes in their case. Thus, you need to decide if you want to tip your hand or keep everything up your sleeve.
Another consideration is whether you think that you can get the State to back down if you blow a big hole in their case. Some prosecutors are willing to move forward to trial even with a very weak case. Others are more reasonable and will negotiate if their case starts to crumble. It really pays to know your prosecutor.
Another consideration is cost. Can your client really afford a computer expert and legal fees for trial? Unfortunately, not everyone can and thus, deciding how and when you will utilize your client’s limited budget it very important. There is no point in getting an expert for trial if the client can’t afford your trial fee!