Ex-Border Patrol agent sentenced for theft, child porn (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Criminal Defense Lawyer SAM SPITAL:

“A former Border Patrol Officer convicted of interstate transportation of stolen goods, theft of government property and possession of nearly 400 photos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct was reported by CBS8.com on January 14, 2013. The U.S. District Court Judge sentenced the defendant to 3 years in federal prison and was ordered to register as a sex offender (RSO) on his plea to the theft of night-vision goggles worth approximately $10,000 and a GPS unit worth under $100.

The story did not contain any facts regarding the defendant, his lawyer’s arguments nor position of the defense. Little was revealed as to the social and family history of the defendant nor evidence of mitigation and/or remorse. Accordingly, it is difficult to evaluate the case and offer any thoughts or opinions.”

—Sam Spital

CHILD PORN SWEEP FOR SUSPECTS NETS SEVEN IN COUNTY – 245 arrested across 35 states recently; no victims locally (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Sam Spital, Criminal and Sex Crime Defense Attorney:

“UT San Diego news reported January 4, 2013 that Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) participated in a national child predator sweep entitled Operation Sunflower in which seven individuals in San Diego were arrested for 20 felony charges of attempted molestation of a minor under age 14, along with distributing and possession of child pornography. It was revealed that one of the children was 19 days old and five of the victims were under age 3. The defendants range in age from 25 to 57, and one was listed as a teacher in the Chula Vista Elementary School.

The article did not contain any other details regarding the suspects, the presence or lack of a criminal history, nor any discussion regarding possible arguments on behalf of the individuals, mitigation and/or evidence of remorse. It strains credulity that far too many stories fail to provide a balanced account of a totality of the facts and circumstances. Perhaps on a re-examination of the underlying goals in publishing news that fully informs the public the editors will require a full and complete report.”

–Sam Spital

1st Grade Teacher Re-Arrested on Child Porn Charges (Sam Spital)

COMMENTARY BY SAN DIEGO CRIMINAL ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL:

 “Internet sex crimes against children are escalating and parents need to be vigilant to avoid what has become a despicable and outrageous scourge in modern society. Clearly, the solution is not to remove computers from children. Even using available tools to restrict access on individual computers is not a full-proof solution because the internet can be accessed at countless places and in locations otherwise unknown by a parent. Open, regular and continuous communications between parents and children continues to be the most valuable approach advocated by most counselors, teachers and experts. The goal is not to cross the boundary to become a friend rather than a parent, but certainly to build and maintain love and respect, as well as establishing proper ethics and morals.

On December 6, 2012, a 41 year old first grade elementary school teacher in Chula Vista, a city in San Diego, was arrested on suspicion of 11 counts of lewd and lascivious acts on children under the age of 14. One of the charges is molesting a young boy. Apparently, the suspect posed as a 13 year old girl who used a web site named ‘MeetMe’ and has utilized other similar web sites to lure young boys to disrobe during webcam communications. The story contained no reference to possible exculpatory evidence (facts that would be favorable to the defense), remorse and/or mitigation, all of which may likely be presented by defense counsel on behalf of the suspect.

This has allegedly taken place while charges are already pending on possessing child pornography.Bail has been set for approximately $1 million.”