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Casper man makes final appeal

Solon raises 21 issues; U.S. Attorney expects court to reject them

Casper man convicted of child porn makes final appeal

By TOM MORTON Star-Tribune staff writer | Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 8:00 am

Ned Solon

A Casper man who claims he was wrongfully sentenced for child pornography charges has filed his last possible appeal with federal court.

Nathaniel “Ned” Solon was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in January 2009 after a jury convicted him of possessing and receiving child pornography.

Solon claimed U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer’s courtroom behavior biased the jury’s decision. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the conviction on a split decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case a year ago.

In September, he filed a 283-page motion to vacate his sentence, according to court records. He is representing himself. Brimmer was assigned to hear this case.

Solon raised 21 challenges about prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective attorneys, search and seizure, lost and destroyed evidence, lack of evidence and jury prejudice, according to court records.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Anderson prosecuted the case, and doubted Solon has much of a chance.

“This is really a common occurrence in the federal system,” Anderson said Monday. “Very, very rarely do we see a court hearing on these cases.”

Solon claimed Anderson denied him due process, misled the jury about government’s forensic computer expert, falsified evidence, issued a superseding indictment with an additional charge, failed to introduce the computer hard drive during the trial, suppressed evidence, prejudiced the jury by showing child pornography, confused issues and lied about the defense’s primary witness.

The federal government regards child pornography as a crime of violence because it involves assaults on young children who cannot give consent.

In January 2007, a federal grand jury indicted Solon on a single count of possessing child pornography after the Internet Crimes Against Children agency of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation identified his computer as offering files containing child pornography for downloading in September 2006, according to court documents. Solon initially pleaded guilty, then withdrew his plea. The government issued a superseding indictment with another charge.

In November 2008, the case went to trial.

Solon’s defense hired computer forensic researcher Tami Loehrs of Tucson, Ariz., whose research indicated his use of the Limewire peer-to-peer network enabled a malicious virus to infect his computer, leading to the downloading of child pornography.

However, Brimmer objected to her research fee, called her an “abrasive witness,” and told Solon’s attorneys not to use “’this woman with pretty exalted ideas of her worth,’” according to court documents.

As the defense attorney began his closing arguments, Brimmer abruptly left the courtroom and returned a few minutes later, apologizing because his secretary was playing canasta that afternoon and he needed to mail some letters.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office will respond to Solon’s motion by December, Anderson said.

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