Child-Porn Convictions Whittled Down in Florida


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CN) – Citing double-jeopardy concerns, a Florida appeals court blocked separate child-pornography convictions for each image a Spanish-language actor transmitted.
     The state initially charged Adonis Losada with 66 counts regarding two interactions that the Univision television star had with an undercover police officer.
     Losada sent a single image to the officer through an online chat during the first interaction. After Losada gave the officer access to a file-sharing program, the officer later obtained 32 additional images from Losada.
     For the two incidents, Losada faced 33 counts of computer pornography and 33 counts of transmitting child pornography.
     Florida recommended a 50-year sentence after a Palm Beach jury convicted Losada on all counts.
     Judge Karen Miller instead threw out all but four of the 66 counts levied against Losda in May 2014, concluding that the actor should face just two counts of each charge – one for each incident.
     The determination drastically reduced Losada’s punishment to 10 years, and a three-judge panel with the Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
     Crediting Miller’s interpretation of the law, the appellate panel agreed that Losada should be charged according to the number of times he transmitted the images he had, and not by the number of images that he transmitted.
     “The Florida Legislature did not specifically envision an image-by-image charging system for the Computer Pornography statute or the Transmission of Child Pornography statute,” the six-page opinion states.
     Sentencing Losada on all 66 counts would constitute double jeopardy – multiple sentences for a single offense – which the U.S. Constitution prohibits, the court added.
     Such a sentence would only be allowed if the Legislature intended separate punishments for each image, according to the opinion.
     While acknowledging that state law is ambiguous, “the rule of lenity dictates construction of the statutes in favor of the accused,” Judge Alan Forst wrote for the court.
     Losada represented himself on appeal. He has already served six years of his sentence while awaiting trial in Miami-Dade County for 52 additional child pornography charges from 2009, the Sun Sentinel reported .
     The 51-year-old actor gained fame for playing a grandmother on a popular Univision variety show, “Sabado Gigante.”
     A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office noted that the state is “reviewing the appeal and the basis of a rehearing.”
     “Therefore, it would not be appropriate to comment any further at this time,” spokesman Whitney Ray said in an email.

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