In March of 2012, Dennis Cosmo was convicted by a Catoosa County Jury of Computer Pornography, Attempt to Commit Pandering and three counts of Criminal Solicitation. Cosmo has communicated by email with a law enforcement officer purporting to be the parent of two underage children being offered up for sexual contact. Cosmo appealed his conviction to the Georgia Court of Appeals which set aside the conviction based, in part, upon the court’s opinion that direct communication with the person believed by the defendant to be a child was necessary. The District Attorney’s Office for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit asked the Georgia Supreme Court to review this decision and the Court took the case for this purpose.
Today, April 21, 2014, the Georgia Supreme Court decided the Court of Appeals erred in its opinion and reversed the decision of that court as to that issue. Under the statutory law and in consideration of the language of the indictment, the Court held that such direct communication was not necessary to a conviction and that communication with a person the defendant believed to be a parent of the child would be sufficient. The Court noted that the federal courts had interpreted similar federal statutes to the same effect.
The ruling does not change the Court of Appeals holding that the trial court erred in failing to charge the jurors on the issue of entrapment and a retrial is necessary for that reason.