Child porn convictions affirmed over evidence, double jeopardy arguments

An Indianapolis man’s conviction on six counts of possession of child pornography was affirmed Thursday when the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his claims that the evidence was insufficient and that his convictions violated his constitutional protections against double jeopardy.

The COA affirmed the convictions on the Level 6 felony charges in Marion Superior Court in Michael Koetter v. State of Indiana, 20A-CR-504. Michael Koetter was sentenced to 545 days with 60 days executed in the Marion County Jail and the balance suspended to probation. He also is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. 

Koetter was convicted in a bench trial after the state presented evidence that arose from a tip Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Laura Smith received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about suspected child porn.

Working through Bureau of Motor Vehicle and police records, Smith was able to obtain a grand jury subpoena for the internet service provider. Records revealed the images were downloaded from a Gmail account accessed from an IP address belonging to a woman at a residence where Koetter had been staying.  

As her investigation continued, Smith found purchases made and items delivered to addresses associated with Koetter. “… Detective Smith determined that the Gmail account belonged to Koetter,” and no one else appeared to be using that account, Chief Judge Cale Bradford wrote in affirming, first rejecting Koetter’s argument that someone else downloaded the images.    

While it might have been possible that someone else was responsible for uploading the images to Koetter’s account, we agree with both the trial court and the State that there is absolutely no evidence that anyone else did so. Koetter’s argument to this effect is pure speculation and does not rebut the reasonable inference that Koetter, himself, was responsible for uploading and possessing the pornographic images.” 

Likewise, the panel rejected Koetter’s double jeopardy arguments. 

“Koetter was convicted of six counts of Level 6 felony possession of child pornography after the trial court determined that Koetter possessed six distinct images of child pornography,” Bradford concluded. “… (W)e conclude that Koetter’s multiple convictions do not violate the prohibitions against double jeopardy set forth in Article 1, Section 14 of the Indiana Constitution.” 

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