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In a download of scores of adult-porn files, it is conceivable that a user could overlook those terms, Fakhoury said. But, ultimately, it may be difficult to convince a jury that any possession is accidental.
"I’ve seen it argued once [in court], and it did not go well," said Fakhoury. "It’s a tough sell for a lot of juries."
The best protection is to avoid peer-to-peer file sharing altogether, Fakhoury said.
"The ability to share data is becoming easier," he said, "and the end result oftentimes can be the ability to share bad data, stuff you don’t want on your computer."
People who do download child pornography may have few options to legally fix the mistake.
"What can you do?" Fakhoury asked. "You can delete it. But if you delete it because you know what it is, you’ve technically possessed it, and a prosecutor might argue you’ve technically obstructed justice because you’ve deleted your trail. Are you going to call the police on yourself? Are they going to believe you? Or are they going to take your computer and take you to jail?
"The law doesn’t offer a great way to deal with this," he said. "Once you get that kind of charge affiliated with your name, the negative repercussions that flow from that are tremendous and terrible."
Morgan, a wide receiver from Texas, played in five games this year before a concussion forced him off the field, Barnes said. He had four receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was a one-handed catch of a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half of a September game at the University of California, Berkeley, which became a YouTube sensation. He has been a member of the SUU football team since 2009.
Morgan faces 10 second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. He has no other criminal history in Utah. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.
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