Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 10, 2013

Computer search in child porn case upheld

CROSSVILLE — A charge against a Cumberland County man accused of sexual exploitation of a minor for allegedly possessing more than 100 images of child pornography on his computer appears headed for trial after the search of his computer was upheld Wednesday.

Gary Anthony Miller, 56, was indicted on the felony offense after being accused by an acquaintance of possessing nude images and videos of children.

Defense attorney Earl Patton sought to have evidence seized from a computer identified as belonging to Miller suppressed on the basis of errors in the handling of a search warrant, and in part, because of a clerical error involving when the search warrant was returned to the clerk's office.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Investigator Chad Norris testified that Teresa Dodson told him and Deputy Avery Aytes that she had borrowed Miller's computer to find a photo of a tattoo she wanted copied and while searching for the tattoo, stumbled onto images of what she described as nude children.

In September 2011, she brought the computer to the sheriff's office and based on what Dodson allegedly discovered, Norris obtained a search warrant from Judicial Commissioner Ronnie Marquess on Sept. 27. He then prepared the computer to be shipped to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's forensic lab for the search and returned the search warrant to Circuit Court Clerk Larry Sherrill's office.

Patton attacked the search warrant because there was a discrepancy between the date recorded by Marquess as to when the document was issued, and the date marked by a clerk in Sherrill's office. The warrant was dated Sept. 27, but the return to the clerk's office was dated Sept. 26.

Patton's theory is that Norris looked at what was on the computer before obtaining the search warrant, resulting in the disputed dates, a claim Norris denied. The investigator testified he never viewed what was on the computer, and simply forwarded to the TBI.

Clerk Kathy Karlsven was called and explained that she must have made a mistake on the date when logging in the return of the search warrant. "We have a very busy office, and we get interrupted constantly ... I believe I made a mistake."

Patton also attacked the validity of the search document because a copy was not given to Miller at the time of the search, as required under judiciary rules.

Norris testified that the reason he did not leave a copy of the search warrant with Miller was because Miller invoked his right to not talk to or assist investigators, and that he was simply respecting Miller's rights.

Patton also questioned if the search was legal because Norris was not present at the TBI lab when the computer was searched, and because it was never established that Dodson was a credible witness on which to base obtaining the search warrant.

Judge David Patterson found that there was probably cause to obtain the warrant based on Dodson's report of what she saw, and noted that search rules in pornography cases are different from rules in traditional searches.

"It is a concern that the defendant was not given a copy of the search warrant," Patterson said. "It is not fatal, but it is of concern. It is bad practice." The judge also concluded that the conflict in dates was a clerical error and nothing more, and has no impact on the standing of the search warrant.

In a related motion, Patton asked the judge to not allow the state to count duplicate photos as individual pieces of evidence. This is important to the defendant because state law applies more serious sentencing for possessing more than 100 images as opposed to possessing more than 50.

The state had filed notice it intended to introduce 112 images and four videos, but Patterson agreed with Patton that it would be unfair to the defendant to have multiple duplicate photos counted as one each.

Patterson agreed with Knight that Patton's argument that some of the photos should not be allowed into evidence because they did not show sexual activity, with the judge and the state saying what was sexual in nature should be up to the jury to decide.

Another motion hearing date was set for July 1, with trial set for July 24.

1
Text Only
Area News
  • rendezvous.jpg TSRA starts spring off with paddling trips

    About 150 members of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) recently gathered April 2-6 in Crossville at Camp Nakanawa for the Annual TWRA Rendezvous.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel recommends using third-party billing for old EMS bills

    The budget committee approved hiring the same third party billing company to help go through older EMS ambulance service bills to resubmit them to help the EMS department get caught up with billing collections.

    April 19, 2014

  • Sales tax collections down

    Cumberland County Finance Director Nathan Brock reported to the Cumberland County Budget Committee that local option sales tax collections have fallen below budgeted projections for the 2013-'14 fiscal year.

    April 19, 2014

  • Motion to toss evidence in burglary denied

    A defense motion to have evidence seized by deputies searching for a man who fled warrant service thrown out failed when deputies testified they had oral permission from the defendant's son to search the residence the father and son share.

    April 18, 2014

  • donate life.jpg Organ donation gives man new lease on life

    Travis Hodges has a new lease on life, thanks to a selfless gift a young father made the year before.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fireworks, sign change get council OK

    While the April Crossville City Council meeting was generally a calm one, there were some fireworks on the agenda.

    April 18, 2014

  • quackers at the library.jpg Spring jamboree

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect charged in Sportsman Club break-in

    A Crossville man has been arrested and charged in connection with the burglary of a shooting club's building in the county that occurred last week, according to arrest reports.

    April 17, 2014

  • Panel discusses auditing hotel/motel tax collections

    Commissioners on the budget committee discussed the possibility of auditing hotels and motels in the county regarding the collection of hotel/motel tax collection figures being down.

    April 17, 2014

  • Repent burglar must serve time

    Some defendants cry, because they get caught, and others are tearful with remorse. No one in the courtroom doubted Robert Killeen's sincerity when he apologized to his victim, his loved ones and supporters for committing crimes against an elderly widow, stealing the money her late husband left her.

    April 17, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice