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GA Court of Appeals Affirms Child Pornography Convictions

April 18, 2013

In Henderson v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s convictions on four counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Henderson was arrested in September 2009 when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force traced an IP address sharing suspected child pornography to Henderson’s residence. After executing a search warrant of his house, GBI agents found DVD’s containing sexually explicit images of children in Henderson’s living room and bedroom in a box labeled “XXX.” The agents also found child pornography materials and DVD burning software on Henderson’s computer.

Henderson explained that he accidentally downloaded the child pornography files and that his efforts to delete the images were unsuccessful. He also claimed that the only reason he had burned any DVD’s was to show a friend who he enlisted to help him remove the images.

On appeal, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that there was sufficient evidence to support his conviction. The Court also found that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation properly issued a subpoena to Henderson’s internet service provider to gather information needed to obtain a warrant to search Henderson’s home.

Finally, the Court upheld a decision by the lower court to allow a juror to remain impaneled despite Henderson’s decision to strike her. Out of nine peremptory challenges, Henderson struck eight female jurors. When asked to provide a gender-neutral reason for each of the strikes, the trial court ruled that Henderson could not provide a legitimate, non-pretextual reason for dismissing one of the female jurors. As a result, the trial court decided to allow her to remain on the jury. The Georgia Court of Appeals gave particular deference to the lower court’s opinion and rejected Henderson’s claim that the decision to re-seat the juror was erroneous.

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