State v. Beck (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the circuit court after reformulating the question, holding that a jury may consider images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct contained in the temporary Internet cache files on a defendant's computer as evidence of a violation of W.Va. Code 61-8C-3(a).
Respondent was charged with one count of violating section 61-8C-3. The circuit court certified a question to the Supreme Court. The Court reformulated the question and answered in the affirmative, holding (1) images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct found in temporary Internet cache files on a defendant's computer are contraband in a prosecution for a violation of section 61-8C-3(a) on a theory of constructive possession if the State's evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew of the cached images and exercised dominion and control over them; and (2) if the State cannot prove that the defendant knew of the cached images and exercised dominion and control over them, the images are still circumstantial evidence the State may use to prove that the defendant violated section 61-8C-3(a).