Berwick Man Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Posted by William Bly | Oct 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Peter Anderson of Berwick, Maine, was arrested on possession of child pornography charges and brought before the federal court in Portland, Maine where bail was set at $50,000.00 unsecured.  This means that Mr.Anderson was allowed to remain free on bail with the likelihood that stringent bail conditions apply such as no use of a computer, no use or possession of alcohol and drugs, not to leave the state, report to a US Probation Officer for supervision, etc.  If Mr. Anderson violates his bail, he'll owe the federal government $50,000.00 and it's unlikely that he'd be allowed back out into the community.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Mr. Anderson's child pornography collection approximated 430 pictures and 105 videos.  In this defense attorney's mind, that's not much of a collection.  I've seen cases where "collections" easily exceed 10,000 images.  However, our federal sentencing guidelines are particularly harsh when it comes to child pornography possession cases.  Here are some of the factors that the court will look at if Mr. Anderson is found guilty and sentenced:

1.  If images exceed 600 in total, maximum amount of points added.  Each video counts as 75 images so he's already above 8,000 total images for sentencing calculation purposes.

2.  If any (even one) of the images/videos are sadistic of masochistic in nature, max points will be added.  That means if any of the children depicted are engaged in sex with an adult, that constitutes sadistic behavior under the guidelines.

3.  If there is evidence that the images were shared/distributed, big points will be added.  Therefore, if Mr. Anderson used a P2P file sharing program, he's probably looking at additional points.

4.  If Mr. Anderson used a computer to commit the crime, he's looking at points (of course he did!  Everyone uses a computer in child porn cases these days).

In federal court, sentences are calculated using the sentencing guidelines.  These guidelines set the base sentence and as well as enhancements unique to the crime.  Mose criminal defense attorneys, myself included, feel the sentencing guidelines are outdated, overly punitive in nature and place most people above the maximum penalty level.  While it doesn't take the sentencing discretion away from the judge as the guidelines are as they suggest, "a guideline", federal judges do have to keep them in mind and have to justify any departures from the recommended guideline sentence.

Realistically, while Mr. Anderson's charge puts him at a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years, the guidelines could put his sentence closer to 14 years.  Hopefully, Mr. Anderson has a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney to guide him through this trying process.

About the Author

William Bly

William T. Bly, Esq. is a graduate of Rutgers College where he majored in Political Science with a minor in U.S. History. Attorney Bly attended and graduated the University of Maine School of Law. During his time in law school, Attorney Bly focused on criminal defense.

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