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Denver, CO Martial Law Blog

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sailor Commits Suicide Rather Than Face Court Martial For Child Pornography

Earlier this year, Navy Construction Electrician Construction man Kirkland Warren Whitmyre, 22, took his own life after being charged with receiving, possessing, viewing, and distributing child pornography. He drove his car off the road the day before his court martial hearing. 

According to NavyTimes

“Authorities suspected Whitmyre used Dropbox and Google Drive accounts to receive, possess and view ‘videos and digital images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct’ from July 2016 to November 2016 in Okinawa, Japan, and Oxnard, California...

Whitmyre also was charged with possessing outlawed videos and images on his cell phone in Japan and California from July 2016 to August 2017…[and] ‘knowingly and wrongfully’ distribut[ing] child pornography from Oxnard in June 2017…”

Whitmyre’s death is a tragedy. Nobody should feel that their life is not worth living just because they have been charged with a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Even in serious cases, like child porn cases, the defendant should be treated with respect and enjoy the due process of law before being judged. 

The military takes child porn charges very seriously, as it should, but it might be a bit too harsh. Since 2011, the UCMJ has allowed people to be charged with child porn crimes even if the images are not minors or even real people. 

It Isn’t What It Seems

People can now be charged and convicted for receiving, possessing, viewing, and distributing child pornography if the one accused is aware that the images appear to be minors, even if the images depict consenting adults. 

This change makes it somewhat easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction since they do not have to prove the images in question are actually child porn. But it also gives the defense team an opening. If the person in possession of the images in question did not intend to view or distribute child porn, and it wasn’t actually child porn, the charges should be dropped. 

Court Martial Law, A Division of Aviso Law, LLC has also defended service members accused of child porn possession in cases where the images in question were not images of actual people, but rather digitally created “deep fakes” or anime. Whether the images are in fact animated is something we can bring in a technical expert to analyze. While the law is unclear in this area, if the images are not real, our attorneys will use this fact to our client’s advantage.  

Serious Charges Require A Serious Defense

If you or a loved one has been charged with the creation, possession, or distribution of child pornography, do not despair. All is not lost. It is a serious charge, but it is not the end of the world. Court Martial Law, A Division of Aviso Law, LLC, has successfully defended multiple service members accused of various crimes involving child pornography. We are based in Colorado Springs, but we have traveled all over the world to defend our military clients. Contact our office to schedule a discrete consultation.

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