Thursday, February 20, 2014

ICAC: Southern Virginia Task Force Polices Digital Shadows

I just came across this article today, sorry for the delay.

I’ve selected some interesting tid-bits from it. Click the link to read the entire article. 
Southern Virginia task force polices digital shadows, February 16, 2014

·        In 2010, the first year ICAC had statistics available, the task force investigated 669 cases and had 91 arrests, 51 pleas and 28 trials.
·        In 2011, those numbers jumped to 953 cases, 130 arrests, 60 pleas, and 23 trials.
·        In 2012, cases rose to 1,374 with 180 arrests, 82 pleas, and 44 trials.
·        Last year the agency investigated 2,118 cases with 216 arrests, 119 pleas and 40 trials.
Many of those investigations are outside of Bedford County. When an offender solicits an undercover officer in Bedford County, the crime is committed in both jurisdictions. Generally, Anders said, offenders are prosecuted where they live.
But if the crime is a felony in Virginia and would be a misdemeanor in another state, officers and prosecutors work together to bring the suspect under the harsher penalty.
“The Internet has blown away jurisdictional lines,” Anders said.
Numerous charges are often placed on each suspect, another advantage for prosecutors. Anders said in one case a suspect charged with 100 counts could have been charged with as many as 29,000.
At that point the question becomes, “How big is a pile of rocks you’re going to put on somebody?” Anders said.

That pile has been bolstered by the state legislature through mandatory minimum sentencing for solicitation, said Krantz, who has been a prosecutor since the early 1990s. For each count of solicitation, he said, an offender must receive five years if found guilty at trial.

This is one reason for high plea rates.