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March 9, 2011

Federal child porn sentencing for former Maine prosecutor bringing out divergent recommendations

I am in Washington DC this morning because I have the honnor of speaking this afternoon at U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces 2011 Judicial Conference on the topic of "Federal Sentencing Law and Policy for Child Pornography Offenses."  But that is only one of the reasons I find interesting this new article from the Bangor Daily News headlined "Prosecutor seeks long sentence for ex-AG on child porn charges." Here are excerpts:

A federal prosecutor thinks the man who was Maine’s top drug prosecutor should be behind bars for at least 21 years. The attorney for the former assistant attorney general believes his client should spend no more than five years in federal prison on child pornography charges.

How much time James M. Cameron, 48, of Hallowell serves will be decided Thursday by U.S. District Judge John Woodcock in federal court in Bangor. On Aug. 23, Woodcock found Cameron guilty on 13 counts of sending, receiving and possessing child pornography in 2006 and 2007 after a jury-waived trial in U.S. District Court in Portland. Since then, Cameron has been held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.

Sentencing memorandums filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Malone, who prosecuted the case, and Cameron’s attorney, Michael Cunniff of Portland, reach vastly different conclusions about what sentence Woodcock should impose.

Cameron faces a minimum of five years in prison. Under the prevailing, but advisory, federal sentencing guidelines, his recommended sentence is between 21 years and 10 months and 27 years and three months, according to court documents....

The judge has handed down sentences in 35 child pornography cases since 2006, according to Malone’s memorandum. He has gone below the guideline range in 10 of them and above the guideline range in one. The average departure, the prosecutor said, was 26 percent below the guideline range, not the the 77 percent Cunniff has suggested in seeking a five-year sentence.

All of those defendants, however, pleaded guilty to some or all of the counts with which they were charged rather than going to trial. Under the sentencing guidelines, a defendant’s guideline range goes down if he enters a guilty plea. Factors outlined in the guidelines that could lengthen a sentence in a child pornography case such as Cameron’s include having the images on a computer, the number of images downloaded, whether they were traded for other images or sold, and the nature of the images. Sentences are increased when the child pornography depicts prepubescent children, intercourse between adults and children and sadomasochistic images.

Malone argued in her sentencing memorandum that in Cameron’s case, all those factors apply. She said that Cameron traded or possessed at least 547 images, some of which depicted babies and young children being victimized and tried to erase them using wiping software.

Defense attorney Cunniff, however, maintained that many of the images included in the prosecution’s calculations are duplicates, and that just 94 images should be counted against Cameron. Cunniff also argued that most of the images of child pornography were found in Cameron’s deleted files, showing that his intent was not to save or share them. Finally, the defense attorney said a guideline-range sentence was too harsh.

No matter how the disputes over the number of images downloaded and the nature of those images are decided, Cameron’s character, his former job as a prosecutor and his actions since his arrest will be seriously scrutinized by Woodcock.... Although Woodcock has not indicated what sentence he might impose, the judge has denied Cameron’s motion for a new trial and refused to release him on bail while awaiting sentencing.

March 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

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Comments

And an excellent presentation it was!

Posted by: mljucmj | Mar 9, 2011 2:09:30 PM

He needs to get no better than anyone else...He has 2 legs and pays taxes, so he also can where the noose that everyone gets....Have fun...

Posted by: Josh | Mar 9, 2011 3:18:30 PM

I point out the obvious. When he is doing his job properly? A highly productive male. And the witch hunt is on by the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs.

The law, the charge, and the sentence fail to meet Daubert standards. These do apply to the criminal law, and defense lawyers are not using the standard. Failure to do so is inexplicable. The aim of child porn laws is to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation. It does the opposite, child porn will reduce those abuses. The law itself raises prices and promotes involvement by criminal syndicates in production. Ironic, the law increases child abuse and exploitation, and not the prohibited downloading. The charge may have stemmed by a Trojan horse computer virus. It also confirms the validity of my proposal to do total e-discovery on all prosecutor computers and to refer any untoward files to the FBI. I suggest all innocent defendants do the same on the computers of the judge. To deter.

There is no evidence, not even anecdotal that these sentences protect children. They are false pretexts to grow government and lawyer rent seeking. Imagine the legal costs of this case. All legal costs should be placed in the public record of each case so the extent of lawyer stealing under the guise of rent seeking may be better measured.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 10, 2011 7:29:02 AM

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