Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sentencing memo: Joplin R-8 tech employee should not receive 25 years

(From Oct. 16, 2013)
In a sentencing memorandum filed today in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, federal public defnder Ian Lewis said former Joplin R-8 technology employee Ronny Justin Myers should not receive a longer sentence just because he had pornographic pictures of Joplin students on his laptop.

Myers sentencing has been scheduled for 11:15 a.m. Thursday, October 24, in Springfield.

The memorandum was a response to one filed Sept. 11 in which the U. S. Attorney asked that Myers be sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child.

That memorandum was noted in the Sept. 11 Turner Report:

Assistant U. S. Attorney Abram McGull says that during a three-hour interview "defendant admitted that he has secretly stored child pornography on his computer. He stated he had approximately 10 child pornography images of Joplin School District co-eds on his laptop. Four of the girl have been positively identified as D. F. (age 15), LS (age 16), GS (age 16) and NC (age 15)."

The sentencing memorandum later says, "The defendant admitted he secretly recorded a 17-year-old engaging in sexual activity and covertly retained child pornography of Joplin School District co-eds who ranged in age from 15 to 16 years old."

The document does not indicate whether the laptop belonged to Myers or to the school district.

The sentencing memorandum includes a long list of transgressions by Myers and a request that the judge sentence him to 25 years in prison.

During the three-hour interview, Myers admitted to having sex with the nine-year-old daughter of his girlfriend five years ago and to setting up a meeting at Northpark Mall with the girl February 15 during his lunch break. However, it was not the girl, but a member of the Cyber Crimes Task Force posing as her who had set up the meeting.

Realizing that he was about to be arrested, Myers took off and was involved in a high-speed chase before being captured.

Myers also admitted that he had sex with his new wife's three underaged daughters.

"The defendant was very candid and forthcoming about his sexual attraction to little girls less than 12 years of age."

The fact that he would admit to having pornographic pictures of Joplin students, having sex with his stepdaughters, and being attracted to underage girls should not be held against him, Lewis said.

Defendant asserts that punishing a defendant for being open with police officers runs counter to our goals. Society wants confessions; confessions lead to undiscovered crimes, and ultimately closure for victims. 

To punish those for merely speaking freely to the police runs counter to this goal. Why punish defendants for speaking, and then not punish those who have committed additional crimes, but have hindered law enforcement? Let us be clear, Defendant is not saying punish those who remain silent, rather the Court should take into consideration the lengths of acceptance of responsibility the Defendant has undergone in the case, and give him credit towards his sentence for such atonement. 

Lewis also argues that Myers should not be sentenced to extra time for crimes for which he may still be charged.

In the government’s motion, there is a focus on alleged, uncharged conduct. However, to punish Defendant for this uncharged conduct invades the purview of the State of Missouri and the State of Kansas. These states are not out of time to charge the alleged conduct. According to the PSIR, there is a pending warrant out of the State of Kansas for Aggravated Criminal Sodomy, with the date of arrest being May 14, 2013. If Defendant has committed additional criminal acts as described in the government’s motion, it is well within the jurisdiction of the various states to bring an action against him in their criminal courts.
If this Court uses this uncharged conduct as a basis for an upward variance it certainly would cause a double punishment scenario (especially in the already filed Kansas case), that may hinder the state courts’ ability to render a sentence. Defendant would ask that this Court allow the state courts full discretion in sentencing their cases, without the specter of possible double punishment. The state criminal justice systems can justly 
punish Defendant for any wrongs he may have committed within that state. 

Lewis also argues that Myers should be given credit for admitting what he has done.

As a policy, society wants defendants to accept responsibility; by doing so, defendants save the Court and the government a vast amount of time and resources. Furthermore, especially in cases that involve minor children, by entering into a plea of guilty, the government is not forced to put minor children on the stand, nor are these minor children subject to cross-examination in front of a jury. 

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