« "21-Year Sentence For Norwegian Killer Of 77; But He May Serve For Life" | Main | Second Circuit discusses right to be physically present at sentencing »

August 24, 2012

Did elderly child porn downloader seek to "retire" in federal prison?

This local federal sentencing story, headlined "Nevadan Returns to Prison for Possessing Child Pornography," caught my eye because the specifics led me to wonder if an elderly offender repeated his child porn crimes because he wanted to return to prison for his twilight years.  Here are the details of the story that prompts the question in the title of this post:

A Nevadan who served time behind bars for possessing and trading child pornography over the Internet is returning to prison for committing a similar crime, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Thursday.  William Greenfield, 70, of Cal-Nev-Ari was sentenced Wednesday to nearly 22 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson. Greenfield pleaded guilty May 23 to one count of transporting child pornography.

"Each time a person receives, views and downloads child pornography they re-victimize the children depicted in the images," Bogden said. "Despite a previous federal prison sentence, this defendant continued his victimization of children undeterred. For the sake of his many victims, the lengthy prison sentence is both warranted and justified."...

Greenfield was released from federal prison on Nov. 8 after serving a 37-month prison sentence for possession of child pornography over the Internet.  But on Dec. 13 a Metro Police detective determined that an individual using email addresses traced to Greenfield's residence was receiving child pornography images and videos through two Yahoo email accounts.  Law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Greenfield's residence a week later and recovered computers and digital devices.  A subsequent forensic analysis revealed that his computer contained more than 600 images and videos of child pornography, which had been received over the Internet....

Greenfield met with his federal probation officer in Las Vegas on March 14 and admitted he recently viewed child pornography.  Greenfield said that child pornography is his "thing," and that he was sexually aroused by talking to pedophiles.  He told his probation officer that he used the website Yahoo for his child pornography activities, and provided the officer his user name and password.  Greenfield also said he had a computer at his hotel room in Las Vegas.

The probation officer retrieved the computer and found a pornographic image of an approximately 5-year-old child, and notified the FBI.  Greenfield gave the FBI permission to operate his Yahoo account. The investigating agent found more child pornography in the Yahoo messaging account and determined that Greenfield transmitted images and videos of child pornography to other people over the Internet in February and March.

Perhaps the defendant in this case is so addicted to child porn that he can never not stop himself from downloading illegal dirty pictures.  But the basic timelines and investigatory details lead me to suspect that the offender he was eager to get sent back to federal prison for a very long time. 

To begin, it appears that within weeks (and perhaps days) of getting out of prison for downloading child porn, the defendant here was at it again.  No matter the level of one's addiction to dirty pictures, I would think an offender eager to remain free after spending three years in prison for a crime would not right away commit the same crime again.  Moreover, even after police searched his house in December, Geeenfield was up to his old illegal activities over the next few months even as he prepared to meet with his federal probation officer.  Then he admits all his illegal computer activity to his probation officer and apparently makes it pretty easy for the FBI to gather still more evidence about his illegal computer usage.

Further, if it is true that Greenfield is "sexually aroused by talking to pedophiles," then federal prison might just be a relatively happy place for him.  I suspect that during his stint in the federal pen, Greenfield may have received "treatment" in the form of group sessions with other incarcerated pedophiles.  Combine that form of perverted "entertainment" with free room, board and medical care provided by the Bureau of Prisons, and I cannot help but speculate that Greenfield decided following his release from federal prison last year that he was eager to go back and thus did what he needed to ensure a lengthy "retirement" in the federal penitentiary system.

Please know, all the above "analysis" is pure speculation after a long week of teaching.  It is quite possible (perhaps probable) that I have this case all wrong.  But I do not think I am wrong to be a least a bit concerned that the offender here was able (and perhaps eager) to find a way to get federal taxpayers to pay for all his care for what seems likely to be the rest of his life.

August 24, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e20176176a4874970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Did elderly child porn downloader seek to "retire" in federal prison?:

Comments

Doug, I think you're probably right--he's looking to retire there.

"But I do not think I am wrong to be a least a bit concerned that the offender here was able (and perhaps eager) to find a way to get federal taxpayers to pay for all his care for what seems likely to be the rest of his life."

Get over it. In any human system, there are going to be anomalies. Some guy wants to get in a federal pen? Let him. The extra cost isn't worth the brain damage and other costs associated with identifying the few that actually like the graybar hotel.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 24, 2012 11:13:10 AM

Will the Feds and ƒaceßook (ƒß) allow Mr. Greenfield to have a ƒß page entitled “Br’er Greenfield in the Briar Patch” or a user ID of Br’er Greenfield” ?

Posted by: Anon. 2.71828 | Aug 24, 2012 11:30:31 AM

Gee, after all this talk about how inhumane, degrading, sadisitic and generally awful imprisonment is, here we have a fellow with first-hand experience who can't get back in fast enough. My goodness!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 24, 2012 3:31:28 PM

Properly understood, pedophilia is a sexual orientation as much as heterosexuality or homosexuality. It's that much a part of their self-identity. Addiction is absolutely the wrong word to use unless you want to say that heterosexuals are addicted to females but I think it's better just to drop the word addiction entirely. It is a genuine orientation in the psychological meaning of that word.

There's nothing in this guy's behavior that surprises me and his explanation for his own behavior rings true. We do know that there are people who commit crimes just for "three hots and a cot". But there is nothing in that article that makes me think that is his genuine motivation. He's a pedophile; that's how they think and act.

I think he got caught again so easily simply because he 70 years old and knows nothing about computer security having grown up in the age before cable even existed.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 24, 2012 3:47:39 PM

I don't think it's wrong to be concerned either, Doug, when it appears that federal prison has become our defacto social safety net.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 24, 2012 4:28:42 PM

Oh, and Bill:

You do realize this proves my point, yeah?

Cheers.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 24, 2012 4:30:44 PM

Guy --

What I realize, and what I would hope you'd realize, is that it proves the opposite of your point. Specifically, to the extent this example shows anything about the quality of life in prison, what it shows is that said quality is, for from degrading, so appealing that those exposed to it find it preferrable to life on the outside.

What I would say is that if it's THAT attractive, it's TOO attractive, not too degrading.

I'm sure you would cheerfully agree.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 24, 2012 5:50:10 PM

And now we know what the 1% truly think thanks to our friend Bill Otis. If prison is preferable to the outside maybe it's not because prison is so swell but because the outside is truly so horrible. Not that Bill or his cronies would know anything about it being bad on the outside seeing how consumed they are with being bad on the inside.

Posted by: Daniel | Aug 24, 2012 9:31:47 PM

My name is Heather Heaton, and I am a new Alabama author. Please consider helping me introduce Heather’s story, a series of ebooks entitled “Her Letters from Prison”, to your readers and followers.

My new ebook series ("Her Letters from Prison") is an inspirational resource for reading pleasure, review, contemplation, and discussion. My own testimony is: "God changed my life in prison!"

"Her Letters from Prison" (Parts 1 & 2) will validate your inquisitive thoughts and doubts about what goes on in women’s prisons (It is what it is!); and it can justify the efforts spent toward women’s prison ministries. These two ebooks can be a motivational (tell-it-like-it-is) resource for drug rehab/prevention and reentry programs, especially when combined with "Her Letters from Prison – Part 4: Recycled – Second Time Around".

"Her Letters from Prison" is a non-fiction, inspirational, romance ebook series; with Heather's original letters (with prison art) included as images for authenticity. Heather's story describes how female offenders are perceived and handled (often abused) in the criminal justice system. The story continues (Part 4) to describe Heather's first two years of re-entry back into the real world and how she ended a destructive narcissistic-codependent relationship.

"Her Letters from Prison: Women-in-Prison" (Part 3) contains two PowerPoint presentations prepared for the University of Alabama/Women's Studies "Women in Prison" conference. Both presentations are based on Parts 1 & 2 of Heather's story; and they are entitled "Women-in-Prison (Almost Invisible)" and "Women-in-Prison (Facts/Myths)". Also, Heather's personal testimony is included in the Part 3 publication.

You can go to http://www.heather-heaton.com, and click on a direct link to Heather's Amazon.com and/or Smashwords "book pages" for “Her Letters from Prison”. Alternatively, you can visit Heather’s author pages:
1. http://www.amazon.com/author/heatherheaton
2. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/heatherdh

Heather’s ebooks are also available in paperback format. The paperback book ("Her Letters from Prison") may be obtained by contacting Heather through her website "contact" form. The paperback book contains Part 1, 2, and 3 ebooks. "Her Letters from Prison - Part 4" will be published as its own paperback book soon.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Heather Heaton

PS: Also, I have a new book series entitled "Women-in-Prison Short Stories" available now on Amazon.com and Smashwords. These true short stories describe the relationships between individual inmates with severe crime(s) and how the other inmates react to the convicted inmate. The short stories are being published now as individual ebooks; but eventually, they will be grouped together and published as a single composite ebook and perhaps a paperback.

Posted by: Heather Heaton | Aug 24, 2012 10:26:19 PM

Daniel --

"And now we know what the 1% truly think thanks to our friend Bill Otis."

If I were in the 1%, is there something wrong with that? If so, could you tell us what it is?

"If prison is preferable to the outside maybe it's not because prison is so swell but because the outside is truly so horrible."

The outside isn't "truly horrible," although this so-called "recovery" is the weakest in 80 years. The standard of living in the country is still high, even though much of it is on borrowed money.

"Not that Bill or his cronies would know anything about it being bad on the outside seeing how consumed they are with being bad on the inside."

This is just pure ad hominem, in addition to being false. Clean it up, Daniel.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 24, 2012 10:49:28 PM

@ Bill:

Assumptions abound, my friend. My only point is that this fellow is pretty clearly a recidivist. I highly doubt that the reason why our recidivism stats outpace Norway's by a margin of 3-to-1 is because our prisons are such swell places on inhabit. After all, if they were, we would undoubtedly be assailed by accusations of coddling, and we couldn't possibly have that.

But the assumption that you make is both that old dude wants back into prison and that old dude wants back into prison because it's so loverly.

Hell, for all I know, maybe both those things are true. Maybe neither. Maybe it's true that he doesn't know how to function on the outside after spending eons in. Maybe prison didn't do a very good job of preparing him for living outside of it, ala Shawshank.

Cheers.

Posted by: Guy | Aug 25, 2012 2:02:55 AM

The almost immediate return to imprisonable activity is not surprising for compulsive behaviours. In this case, he was probably waiting for three years for the chance. I don't flinch when I hear similar from drug addicts about their own problem behaviours.

Posted by: Marko | Aug 29, 2012 3:12:25 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