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Judges uphold child pornography sentence

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found no procedural or substantive errors in a sentence following a man's guilty plea to a child pornography charge.

In United States of America v. Brad Coopman, No. 09-2134, Brad Coopman challenged his sentence of 151 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography. Indiana State Police learned Coopman was using his computer to share three child pornography videos and later discovered more saved on his computer. He pleaded guilty without a plea agreement.

Coopman claimed the District Court improperly placed presumptive weight on the sentencing guidelines, didn't consider non-frivolous arguments, and misapplied 18 U.S.C. Section 3553. He also argued his sentence was unreasonable.

Coopman filed two sentencing memorandums: One urged the court to give the guidelines little weight in sentencing him; the other addressed Section 3553 sentencing factors. He wanted the District Court to adopt the mandatory 60-month imprisonment as required by 18 U.S.C. Section 2252(a)(2).

There were no objections to the pre-sentence investigation report, and the District Court adopted the factual statements in it as its findings of fact. The court also heard witnesses, including a Lafayette police officer who examined Coopman's computer and testified on Coopman's pornography searches conducted on a Purdue University campus computer. Coopman presented Dr. William Hillman, an expert in sexually violent offenders, who testified it was unlikely Coopman would exhibit predatory behavior and that his addiction could be abated.

On appeal, Coopman argued the District Court improperly presumed the sentencing guidelines were reasonable, but there's more than enough evidence to show the court considered the guidelines only in their advisory capacity, wrote Judge Michael Kanne.

Coopman also claimed the District Court improperly failed to consider evidence in the mitigation of his sentence; but the court did address his argument, it just reached a different conclusion than Coopman wanted, the judge noted.

The District Court considered Hillman's testimony but had serious concerns about the doctor's specific experience, methods, and analysis because the doctor wasn't an expert in child pornography. In addition, the District Court properly considered Coopman's arguments in light of Section 3553(a).

The Circuit judges also found Coopman's argument that his sentence was inappropriate to be without merit because the District Court acted reasonably in imposing his sentence.

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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