While a computer crime such as child pornography is not your typical crime involving numerous eyewitnesses, there may still be witnesses that need to be interviewed in the case. Ruling in or out this possibility early on in the case is important. As previously discussed, if these witness interviews could be considered Hogan evidence, then you may be able to get the case dismissed before indictment. Even if this is not possible, it is important to identify your witnesses and lock them into a statement now.
You would be amazed how relationships change as the case lingers on for what could be years. Thus, one cannot assume that the witness that is on your side today will be on your side tomorrow. While you may not want to call a hostile witness at trial, you will at least want to make sure they the State cannot call these people. Keep in mind that in New Jersey (and some other jurisdictions) you only have to turn over this information if you plan to use it. Thus, if the State doesn’t indicate that they have an intention to call this person as a witness and you don’t either, the State may not need to be given a copy. Of course, the local court rules and the cases interpreting them should be consulted on this topic.
Witnesses to child pornography cases may be rare, but two groups of people jump right out: people that live with the defendant and anyone else that handled the computer at one point. This often includes family members and sometimes co-workers. In other cases, it could be the seller of the computer or the person repairing same. Of course, you are not going to get to interview the police officer. The defendant’s use of the computer, the problems with same and the use of the computer by others will be all important topics of the interview.