« Noting the impact of Graham for all juve LWOP sentences | Main | Will the US Sentencing Commission's forthcoming mandatory minimum report make any big news? »

October 30, 2010

Decorated Vietnam vet gets way below-guideline sentence for child porn

This notable local article from South Dakota, which is headlined "War vet sentenced 18 months for child porn," reports on another interesting and notable federal sentencing case involving a child porn downloader. Here are the fascinating details:

A decorated Vietnam veteran with no criminal history and only a vague memory of his crime will spend 18 months in a mental health facility for dabbling in child pornography.

The unique circumstances in the case of 65-year-old Truman Wages led U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol to deviate from federal sentencing guidelines -- and his own judicial philosophy -- by trimming what would have been a five-year prison sentence to 18 months in a secure mental institution. "Frankly, the public needs to see that if you engage in child pornography, you're going to go to prison," Piersol said at the Parkston man's sentencing on Friday.

The judge agreed, nonetheless, with the assessments of Wages by defense lawyer Tim Langley and forensic psychiatrist Ricardo Ascano.  Namely, that the near-suicidal veteran with a deteriorated memory does not represent a threat to the community. "This is not a pedophile," Langley said. "This is a person who can't even give a reasonably coherent account of what he was trying to do when he stumbled onto these things."

What investigators found during a 2008 search of Wages' home and property were nearly 100 CDs with some pornography on them. Among them were three discs containing child pornography.  Prosecutor Jeff Clapper said that one of the 10 videos contained footage of an adult male engaging in sex acts with a 1-year-old child. "He didn't just view it on the Internet, he downloaded it, saved it and put it on a disc," Clapper said.

Ascano's psychiatric profile showed Wages to prefer adult women overwhelmingly as sexual partners, evidenced by a collection of adult pornography and a wandering sexual history that includes more than 200 female partners.  Part of each monthly disabled veteran's check goes to support some of his children in Mexico, Langley said.

When asked to explain his foray into child pornography, Wages said he had probably stumbled across the material while searching for an herbal cure for erectile dysfunction.

Wages earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, Ascano said, and has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since.  Veteran's Affairs clinics in California and Arizona diagnosed him with depression, anxiety and schizoid personality disorder, Ascano said, and he attempted suicide in 1993. The deterioration in his memory stems from a long-term refusal to take medications for his Type II diabetes and hypertension. He refuses, the doctor says, because he is "parasuicidal."...

Clapper recommended a higher sentence than Piersol ultimately issued, but said the serious crime came about in a "highly unusual" manner.  Wages' use of pornography increased with his age, Clapper said, alongside his self-imposed isolation and depression. "We've got a person who has lived a hypersexual life, and later in life he isn't able to live that way anymore," Clapper said.

October 30, 2010 at 08:50 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e20133f5742bab970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Decorated Vietnam vet gets way below-guideline sentence for child porn:

Comments

I urge innocent defendants to demand total e-discovery of the prosecutor, his assistants, the judge, bot work and home. The reason is to look for improper motive, and bias, respectively.

Someone went through 97 CDs of porn to find 3 CD's of child porn. That has to be of tactical importance. Who has that job, an eunuch?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 30, 2010 9:28:13 PM

Prison authorities should offer the gentleman real suicide opportunities, rather than highly dramatic, but time wasting parasuicides.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 31, 2010 9:38:12 AM

"Vague memory of the crime?" WTF? Is that all you have to do to go below the minimum? And who verified that?

Posted by: Federale | Nov 1, 2010 2:28:51 PM

A Different Perspective

I have been reading your blog weekly for fifteen months now. Your blog has been the most enlightening site concerning the sentencing laws in the US that I have found. At a time when I couldn't find source material anywhere else, I found it here. It has helped me tremendously to make some sense out of this mess.

I am not a lawyer, professor or student. I am a wife of thirty-six years to a man I loved that was addicted to porn and this led to underage porn that was e-mailed through different groups to him.

He has faced his crime and is serving the sentence laid out by the judicial system. This is a crime where the cost keeps building up. Our judicial system delves out punishment for the crime and so do the residents of the federal prison where they are located. And since that is not enough his family will be paying the price for his insanity for the rest of their lives with sex offender registration and notification of the crime.

Nonetheless, I am appalled that the guidelines are all over the board. I do not believe in the mandatory minimums. I do believe that each case is different and should not be a one size sentence fits all.

Posted by: Evelinn O'Riley | Nov 4, 2010 3:07:56 PM

Frankly I am disgusted with the continued smearing of Viet Nam Veterans. The fact he served in a war 30 years ago, is irrelevant to the story. Notice that the Marxist press never puts the words “Viet Nam war protester” or “Yale Graduate” in the same line when talking about a criminal. The war has been over for over 35 years yet the press still uses every opportunity to bash them.

Posted by: Robert Exton | Jan 7, 2011 4:47:03 PM

Prison authorities should offer the gentleman real suicide opportunities, rather than highly dramatic, but time wasting parasuicides.

Posted by: thomas sabo | Aug 21, 2011 9:59:29 PM

Ist die Türkei ein sicheres Reiseland? Ja! Die Türkei ist eines der sichersten Urlaubsländer am Mittelmeer. Es gibt so gut wie keine Übergriffe auf Touristen.

Posted by: Türkei Reisen | Oct 10, 2011 9:53:50 AM

Mit unserem kostenlosen Stromvergleich das günstigeste Angebot aus 900 Anbietern.

Posted by: Günstig Strom | Oct 10, 2011 9:54:53 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