A retired Utica, Michigan, teacher who was recently convicted of possession of child pornography has been sentenced in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan in Detroit to 20 years. The sentence was the maximum faced by the man after he pleaded guilty to the federal charge last year.
The defendant, who had taught in the community for 32 years, was apprehended as a result of Operation Predator, a federal internet sting operation overseen by federal Homeland Security investigators. He was arrested last March after federal agents found hundreds of thousands of images and videos of child pornography on laptops and digital storage media hidden in his basement. The man had also admitted to illegal sexual contact with a minor relative during the investigation.
Federal agencies like the FBI, the Department of Justice, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force invest considerable resources into initiatives like Operation Predator to identify suspects in child porn investigations. When they target a suspect for criminal charges, those efforts are matched by the resources of federal prosecutors.
Anyone who faces suspicions of child pornography possession or distribution must act swiftly to protect their constitutional rights. The most important role of a criminal defense attorney in such cases is to provide immediate advice to a client about protections against illegal search and seizure and the right to remain silent.
A criminal defense lawyer who understands the nature of sex crimes cases can act swiftly to protect a client’s reputation. Any opportunity to minimize charges in the first place – or cast doubt on the admissibility of evidence – can mean a step toward a better legal outcome. When the trial court produces an unjust result, even defendants who have entered guilty pleas may have a strong reason and sound legal basis for appealing the conviction or sentence.