Veterinarian Sentenced On Federal Illegal Pornography Charges
A popular and charismatic veterinarian was sentenced on federal child pornography and bestiality charges after he was found in possession of thousands of pictures of male infants and toddlers being sexually abused. He also pleaded guilty to making pornography of himself sexually abusing small animals and puppies. The defendant was given the maximum sentence of 22 years. There was also evidence that the veterinarian had sexually abused two boys under the age of 16, but that evidence was not a part of the prosecution. A defense attorney representing the defendant pointed out that those allegations were unclear and should not be used to enhance the defendant’s sentence.
Defending the indefensible
If you’re a defense attorney with a client like the one mentioned above, your job is to humanize the client as much as possible. In this case, that’s exactly what the defense attorney attempted to do, but overcoming the cynical cruelty and two-faced nature of the defendant’s character proved impossible. The judge may, however, have erred in allowing the maximum sentence on the basis of two unproven allegations that were not a part of the prosecution. That can be grounds for appeal. While the verdict would not be overturned by an appeal, and even without the allegations of sexual abuse, the defendant’s conduct is so offensive to our sense of morality, that throwing the maximum sentence at him would be appropriate regardless of the allegations.
Of course, we can wax philosophical when the case is over and it’s not our client, but when we’re defending the client, we have a legal duty under the law to represent their interests as best we can. It doesn’t matter if they’re an innocent man wrongly accused, or a veterinarian pedophile who takes pictures of himself sexually assaulted small defenseless animals. Our obligations to the client remain the same.
Humanizing and demonizing
The prosecution’s job is to make a monster of the defendant. The Government will say this person is like a demon, needs to be removed from society, and is completely undeserving of any leniency or sympathy. The defense attorney’s job is to humanize the defendant. How do you humanize a defendant like this?
Well, a history of sexual assault means that he is not only the perpetrator of crimes against children but also a victim himself. The theory goes that the victimized child grows up feeling the shame of the assault and attempts to take their power back by becoming the assaulter. While this makes a certain sort of psychological sense, the statistics concerning child sexual assault indicate that it may be a factor in sexual predation, but it is not necessarily. For example, most of those who are assaulted as children do not grow up to assault themselves. Meanwhile, those who do grow up to be sexual predators may or may not have a history of sexual abuse in their past.
So, humanizing a defendant such as this may be a losing effort, but it’s the defense attorney’s job to try as hard as they can.
Talk to a Tampa Federal Defense Attorney Today
If you’re facing serious charges, the Tampa criminal defense attorneys at The Matassini Law Firm can help manage your case and negotiate a result you can live with or get the charges dismissed entirely. Call today to learn more.