November 6, 2007

9th Circuit upholds lifetime supervision of child pornographer

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld lifetime supervision of a child pornographer after he finishes serving his prison term.

Gordon Cope, 58, was caught with computer images and videos depicting child pornography during an undercover FBI investigation of Internet chat rooms. He pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The appellate court held that lifetime supervision was "reasonable" and Constitutionally permissible in light of the California man's previous conviction in 1981 for attempted sexual assault on a minor.

Cope also appealed special sentencing provisions requiring that he comply with forced medications, penile plethysmography, Abel testing, and polygraph testing as part of mandatory sex offender treatment. The appellate court held that such requirements are permissible, but that Cope should have been provided with adequate notice and more explanation of why these special conditions were needed. The case was remanded back to the trial court for such proceedings.

Yesterday's ruling is available online.