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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. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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