« Biros seeking federal stay to prevent Ohio's use of new one-drug lethal injection protocol | Main | Distinct headlines report on 50th execution in United States in 2009 »

December 4, 2009

Repeat offender gets state sentence of 100 years for possessing child porn and pot

While closely following the debates and disparities in federal sentences for downloading child porn, I keep thinking and wondering about whether and how these offenses are being prosecuted and sentenced in state court.  Thus this local article, headlined "Slidell man sentenced to 100 years in prison for possessing child porn," concerning a Louisiana sentencing caught my attention this morning.  Here are the details:

A 43-year-old Slidell man on Thursday received 100 years in prison for possessing child pornography and about a pound of marijuana. State Judge William "Rusty" Knight sentenced Andrew Galatas under stiffer sentencing guidelines after Knight determined that St. Tammany Parish Assistant District Attorney Scott Gardner had sucessfully labeled Galatas a habitual offender.

None of the images was of local children and Galatas had not taken any of them himself, only downloaded them off the Web, authorities said. A 12-member St. Tammany jury had found him guilty on Nov. 10 as charged of the two possession charges.

Although pornography involving juveniles carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison, Galatas has other felony convictions on his record so could be considered a habitual offender. He has molestation of a juvenile and a sexual battery charges from 1997, a possession of stolen property over $500 charge in 1996 and an issuing worthless checks over $100 charge from 1995.

December 4, 2009 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e20120a70d9634970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Repeat offender gets state sentence of 100 years for possessing child porn and pot:

Comments

Does anyone really care? Even if this sentence is too harsh, is it something to get worked up about.

This guy's gonna have a blast in Angola.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 4, 2009 10:47:34 AM

"This guy's gonna have a blast in Angola."

You really like the thought of that, don't you?

Posted by: JC | Dec 4, 2009 11:15:44 AM

Actually, JC, I don't. While some of these guys certainly deserve it, the bottom line is that no civilized society should tolerate rape or brutality in prison. It teaches inmates that "might makes right", which is precisely what we don't want taught. Moreover, it undermines all moral authority that prison guards have. And it spreads disease. Also, the joint isn't very discriminating on whether the guy getting it actually deserves it.

I can't say I'd feel sorry for this particular guy, but I don't support him being violated in prison.

I've been pretty consistent on that in here too.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 4, 2009 11:41:31 AM

The sentence is obviously about four or five times too long. On the other hand, this guy does not invite much sympathy.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Dec 4, 2009 11:57:17 AM

When the article uses the word "charge," I'm assuming it means "conviction." If that's true, then I have no problem with this individual receiving a very long sentence for mere possession of child porn. Now, whether 100 years was necessary is another story.

This defendant has previously molested and committed sexual battery against a minor. If there's a prior sex offense against a child - where the individual engaged in sexual activity with a minor (and its not just a case of a person somewhat over 18 engaging in conduct with someone within a few years of their age), then those who possess child porn must be punished severely.

Posted by: DEJ | Dec 4, 2009 12:05:54 PM

DEJ.

"This defendant has previously molested and committed sexual battery against a minor."

And I think THAT'S the difference. The overwhelming majority of sentences of this type are for people who have never been convicted of molesting anyone.


Posted by: Daniel | Dec 4, 2009 12:36:57 PM

It's a bit misleading to bill this as a 100-year child-porn/pot sentence... he was habitualized. In many states, people are LWOPed for burglary, assault, stealing golf clubs, etc., once they are categorized as habitual offenders.

As an aside, as someone who visits a lot of prisons, the phrase "moral authority that prison guards have" clanged in the ear a bit. I'm not saying that guards are generally bad people -- they are often stuck in a bad position and essentially pawns in a system that leaves them few good options. But on the other hand, given that so many of them participate in corruption, smuggling, discrimination, outright cruelty, and/or casually fail to lift a finger to protect vulnerable inmates, I have a hard time thinking of them, as a group, as folks tending to wield large amounts of moral authority.

Posted by: Anon | Dec 4, 2009 1:06:13 PM

Yes, that is the difference, but why wouldn't that same difference apply if he was only arrested and convicted of the pound of pot?

While society can have a reasonable interest in severe punishment, the question is, what does "severe" mean? Would 10 years do it? Would 20? What about 30? What makes one severe and another not?

Were any of his convictions violent, like the sexual battery? That depends on the jurisdiction. For example, in California sexual battery is what Gov. Schwarzenegger apologized for (groping). 100 years is much more than many of the various degrees of homicide sentences. Perhaps anything more than what a homicide defendant would be subject to is severe.

Posted by: George | Dec 4, 2009 1:26:13 PM

Daniel, I agree completely with you. That was my point: is is the prior sex-offense-with-a-minor that justifies a long sentence. Without it, such harsh treatment is not warranted in mere possession cases.

George, that same difference would not apply if he were only arrested for marijuana because it is the prior sex-offense-with-a-minor, uniquely, that shows his possession of child porn to be likely dangerous and violent. A guy who has molested children and then looks at pictures of child porn warrants a sever sentence. A guy who smokes or sells pot and then looks at such pictures does not present the same risk as the first individual.

Further, I would have wondered, too, if his sexual battery was violent. A lot of sex offenses aren't, as George points out. But when it's coupled with a "molestation" conviction, that worry is mitigated, IMO.

Posted by: DEJ | Dec 4, 2009 3:56:59 PM

DEJ: "This defendant has previously molested and committed sexual battery against a minor."

me: I can't support a court giving a defendant the same effective sentence for possession of chil pron as he would have got for actually raping a child. while child pron is disgusting I think it likely is a less harmful alterantive to the actual molestation or rape of a child and therefore should be punished less severely.

I see this verdict as potentially putting Louisiana children at risk.

Posted by: virginia | Dec 4, 2009 4:39:17 PM

Virgina. You seem to imply that you see his viewing of child porn as a substitute to actually molesting a child. I don't buy that line of logic because I think it's ignorant of the way child molesters work. Child porn in the hands on a proven child molester is much more dangerous because child porn can be used to groom a targeted child. In other words, in the hands of a convicted molester it's extremely unlikely that child porn is being used as a substitute for actually physically harming a child. The odds are much greater that it's being used to facilitate crimes against other victims.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 4, 2009 8:21:56 PM

123D.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 4, 2009 11:48:49 PM

in the hands of a convicted molester it's extremely unlikely that child porn is being used as a substitute for actually physically harming a child. The odds are much greater that it's being used to facilitate crimes against other victims.

Posted by: indoor playground | May 25, 2011 9:50:52 PM

Dr Brian Neil Talarico North Bay Has been convicted of child molestation, an
possession of child pornography on his computer. Sexually molesting a young
boy. He had prior convictions for child molestation in 1990 and 2001. After
his parole in 2006. Dr. Talarico Brian. Works for north east mental health
centre, despite his background, and numerous complaints against him of
abuse, fraud, negligence, and imprisonment. Address: North East Mental Health
Centre North Bay Campus Highway 11 North North Bay Ontario P1B 8L1, and now
works for Act 2, North Bay.

Posted by: Tiffany | Dec 22, 2011 2:09:40 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB