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Palm Coast’s Justin Brannick, Accused of Downloading Child Porn, Is Acquitted

| July 21, 2014

Justin Brannick

Justin Brannick

Justin Brannick, a 31-year-old Palm Coast resident who spent the past year at the Flagler County jail on charges of downloading child pornography, was acquitted last week at the end of a two-day trial in Flagler County Circuit Court.

A year to the date of his arrest, a jury found Brannick not guilty after the prosecution’s case proved too circumstantial. His arrest had entailed what his attorney had argued was an illegal search, because his computer was seized without a warrant. Judge J. David Walsh rejected the argument, as a homeowner where Brannick was staying granted permission for the search and seizure of the computer.

In the end, the fact that the computer was accessible by a number of people led the jury to conclude that the guilt could not conclusively be pinned on Brannick, even as Brannick had re-installed an operating system–to remove a virus, he said–within 24 hours of Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents searching it.

Brannick had faced up to 50 years in prison had he been found guilty. As it is, he was freed, and will be spared having to register as a sex offender.

The previous story is below.

Tumblr Posting of Child Porn Leads to 10 Charges Against 30-Year-Old Palm Coast Man

July 18, 2013–Justin Brannick, a 30-year-old resident of 22 Roxland Lane in Palm Coast, was arrested at his home Wednesday and jailed on 10 counts of possession of child pornography. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office executed the arrest on a warrant resulting from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation dating back to May. The posting of an image on a Tumblr account on Feb. 7 had tipped off authorities.

The morning of May 14, a state investigator contacted Brannick in person at the Roxland Lane address. Brannick was alone at the house at the time. He was told of the investigation. Brannick told the investigator that he did not have a Tumblr account, but that he was familiar with the website. Tumblr, recently acquired by Yahoo!, is a microblogging website like Twitter that allows user to post brief blogging entries, pictures and videos.

Brannick, a graduate of Palm Coast High School, also told the investigator there were no computers in the house, and wouldn’t let the investigator in, saying he wasn’t the homeowner. The investigator was able to contact the homeowner, however, who said there were, in fact, several computers in the house, including an HP G56 laptop acquired for a child in the house, but that Brannick used frequently. The investigator secured written permission to conduct a forensic analysis on the laptop, which Brannick turned over. When Brannick did so, he told the investigator that the night before, he’d re-installed the Windows operating system because the computer had gotten infected with a virus, and Brannick said he could not afford to buy anti-virus software.

“It is known that re-installing an operating system will cause the files on a computer to be moved from allocated to unallocated space on a hard drive,” the FDLE charging affidavit states. “Furthermore, the files that were on the computer would possibly remain on the system but the dates and times for those files would no longer exist.”

The analysis revealed the presence of 119 images of child pornography. The analysis also revealed that the operating system had been re-installed about an hour after the state investigator initially contacted Brannick, and not the night before.

When Brannick was interviewed at his home and told of the images, “it was determined the statements that [Brannick] made during the initial interview were untruthful,” the report states. The redacted portion of the charging affidavit covers Brannick’s answer, when he was asked why he had been untruthful.

Interviews with others in the house revealed that one woman there only used the laptop to play games and check her Facebook account. Another woman told the investigator that the only time she uses the computer is to help a child at the house with homework. A third individual said he’d set up the computer some three years ago but hadn’t used it since.


The dates and times of the images found on the computer were stripped when investigators conducted their analysis. Brannick faces 10 charges of child pornography possession, based on a set of images that, according to the charging affidavit, showed prepubescent girls ranging from age 2 to age 13 in various stages of sexual performance, including a 6-year-old girl performing oral sex and a seemingly adult hand inserting a pacifier in the vagina of a girl of about 2.

Authorities determined that none of the images were digitally created, as opposed to actual renditions of human beings.

Child pornography possession is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count.

“There is as yet no effective way for individuals to protect themselves from the capture of child pornography on their computers,” Florida attorney John Guidry writes of the 1985 law. “The statute is not designed for such technology and has not been interpreted as yet by Florida courts to any meaningful extent. Almost all of the child pornography prosecutions in Florida proceed from their genesis in a search warrant, a warrant issued by magistrates who aren’t informed of the realities of modern day computers, and which are based on nothing more than the allegation that the pornography is on the computer. The very real possibility that it may be there without the knowledge of the home owner is immaterial, and if he is able to present such facts in his defense, it is long after the police have barged into his home and taken away all of his electronic equipment and who knows what else.”

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9 Responses for “Palm Coast’s Justin Brannick, Accused of Downloading Child Porn, Is Acquitted”

  1. The Truth says:

    I went to school with Justin and unfortunately this doesn’t surprise me. He was always very uneasy and not very social. It’s disgusting and shameful that he’s done this.

  2. Geezer says:

    We have some truly revolting degenerates lurking among us.

    Too bad we can’t format and repartition their pathetic brains.
    I’d gladly zero out all of the old data and pump a new OS into their heads.
    And to be extra Machiavellian and medieval on his sorry butt, I’d install Windows 8.

    That’s that. You have to be tough on crime.

  3. A.S.F. says:

    There are children in this house??? Shouldn’t Child Protective Services be informed of what’s going on and be called in to do an investigation as to whether this is a safe environment for children to live in?

  4. happening now says:

    Yes, child porn is disgusting to say the least, my question is where does it come from, who posts it and why does it continue to happen?? Who knows where evil lies in the heart of men. ??????

  5. Jim says:

    Ugh. How disgusting. I knew this guy, and he always kinda scared me. It is chilling to think that there are people like this guy around.

  6. Geezer says:

    I’m glad to see this image and article getting lower and lower on the page
    (replaced by newer stories), soon to be out of sight and mind.

    Yuck.

  7. Isaac Tannenbaum says:

    He’ll never live it down.

  8. Derrick R. says:

    Lot of Children live on his street and I hope he has vacated Palm Coast

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