Sometimes it is difficult to be thankful when so many things go wrong--especially when the problems are so life changing.
However, despite the extreme turmoil in Ned's life, good things have happened to him and to this family since January 2007. After a year of complete despair and hopelessness, Judge Brimmer appointed Tom Smith of Casper to represent Ned and agreed to allow the defense to hire Tami Loehrs, forensic expert of Tucson, to review Ned's hard drive. They were a dedicated and expert team.
When the judge suspended her funding, Ms Loehrs agreed to his new demands to renegotiate the original agreement. She continued to work on Ned's hard drive and came to Cheyenne to testify at the trial. We understand how fortunate Ned was to have her on his team - and we thank her so much for examining the hard drive and enabling Ned to clearly understand what the prosecution was alleging. She was a godsend to this family.
And what can we say about Tom Smith? We know he was not pleased to be assigned this case. But we know he gave it his all. He is an honest, decent human being and we believe he cared more about Ned than he did about winning the case simply for his resume. Unfortunately, the result was not what we all hoped it would be. But our respect for Tom Smith has never wavered. We thank him for his sincere effort.
Megan Hayes of Laramie was selected to represent Ned in his appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Ned has never met Megan. However, it did not take long to understand that she had an organized brain that produced very good work. Again, although the result was not the answer to our prayers, we have nothing but praise and respect for this "faceless woman" we have never met. She so quickly captured the essence of Ned's trial without ever being there and was able to breathe life into it on paper. That is an impressive gift. We hope some day to thank her in person.
In the early days of this nightmare, Robert Reilly and Greg Coffey, both of Casper, served as computer experts for the defense. Both men have made a living in the computer business and are well qualified. They each had the audacity to suggest that since the prosecution had failed to seize the entire computer, a complete computer review was virtually impossible. Put more simply - when charging a suspect with a computer crime, it would be sensible to seize the computer.
Immediately the prosecution began its "search and destroy" mission on their credentials:
"Mr. Anderson:."Judge, I've got to tell you this, with all due respect to Mr. Coffey and all due respect to Mr. Reilly, I think in this particular matter there is misunderstanding by these gentlemen as to what the forensic process and the forensic examination of computers entails. And I don't think that they're totally aware of what can be - what can be viewed and what can be extracted from a hard drive using forensic software. I think both of these gentlemen are very qualified at what they do. And I don't mean to insult or disabuse either individual, but what I would say is this. I think they're both very good at maintaining networks. I think they're both very good at maintaining computers. I think they're like mechanics. But this hard drive is kind of like an automobile that's been in a car crash, and you don't call a mechanic as an accident reconstructionist. You call a -- in this particular case we're not dealing with forensic examiners. We're dealing with mechanics as such. We got the guy that's the accident reconstructionist sitting at our table. That's been part of the problem with this case, is that we're dealing with individuals that simply don't quite understand what that hard drive contains when you use forensic software tools to extract that information. We haven't destroyed any evidence, Judge. We simply haven't." (Transcript of Motion to Dismiss, May 30, 2007, pp 22-23).
Mr. Coffey and Mr. Reilly should NOW understand that you don't need the computer to charge and convict an innocent person with a computer crime! How silly!! Mr. Anderson did it! See below:
In the trial transcript, Vol. III of VI pp 60 & 61:
"MR. SMITH: Your Honor, I would object to admission of Exhibit 10 on the basis that the exhibit does not come from Mr. Solon's computer but merely from ICAC's library or database.
"THE COURT: It will be overruled. I think Number 10 is illustrative of what Agent Huff deduced was on Mr. Solon's computer, and it is, therefore received.
"MR. ANDERSON: And we're also offering this, Judge, under 404(b) as proof of identity intent.
"THE COURT: It may be received for that purpose. (Government Exhibit 10 received in evidence.)"
To Greg Coffey and Bob Reilly we say THANK YOU for stating the obvious and enduring the demeaning and condescending words of the prosecutor.
At time of trial in November 2008, Jordan Robertson, Tom Morton, The Honorable Judge Lucero and Senator Enzi had no involvement in USA v SOLON. The Family, including Ned, has never met them, but they also deserve our thanks.
Jordan Robertson, Technical Writer for the Associated Press, featured Ned in his article FRAMED FOR CHILD PORN – BY A PC VIRUS published worldwide on November 9, 2009.
This article highlighted the dangers file sharing presents to all Internet users. It can permit remote access from anywhere in the world. Remote access can then provide the opportunity for illegal activity of any kind to enter an unsuspecting owner’s computer via a Trojan and/or virus. It is possible for that activity to reside in a computer without the owner KNOWINGLY possessing it.
The Solon Family is grateful for Jordan’s attempt to enlighten computer users and prosecutors to this real and present danger. Jordan’s article brought great solace to Ned. It is our hope that this information is absorbed and eventually will become common knowledge – so that no prosecutor can mislead a judge and jury about the validity of this defense argument again. Thank you, Jordan!
Tom Morton of the CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE spent a substantial amount of time and effort researching Ned's case. He wrote three comprehensive articles that were published on April 18, 2010 in the Casper Star Tribune. These articles not only covered the rejection of Ned's appeal by the Tenth Circuit Court, but they also helped to educate people about what can happen when a virus attacks a computer. On June 26, 2010, Mr. Morton further reported on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed with the United States Supreme Court. It is gratifying to Ned and this family that Ned's plight is remembered periodically. Child Pornography is an ugly topic. The incarceration of innocent people is also an ugly topic. We appreciate Tom Morton’s objective reporting. Thank you Tom for all your hard work and for reminding people to be vigilant in protecting their computers.
And, we thank The Hon. Carlos F. Lucero of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is apparent that Judge Lucero read the transcripts sent to him. We particularly appreciate his Dissenting Opinion presented in USA v SOLON.
Michael Enzi, US Senator from Wyoming, has repeatedly attempted to assist Ned with his communication with Leavenworth Prison in an attempt to make Administrative Remedy work for the Prisoner. So far, it has not worked for Ned. However, we appreciate Senator Enzi’s continued efforts.
Ned’s friends have been loyal. I certainly do not wish to avoid naming any one who deserves our thanks. However, of special note here, are Carol Nemetz and Jeff Holcomb (Mr. and Mrs. Holcomb), Ned’s neighbors on Melrose Street in Casper, They voluntarily stepped up and watched over Ned’s property and Bubba, his cat, as long as Ned could afford to keep his Melrose home. They were a godsend and are valued, dependable friends. We sincerely thank them.
Ned particularly appreciated that his long-time friend, Jeff “Red” Pullins of Casper, took the day off work on January 21, 2009 and made the trip from Casper to Cheyenne to the sentencing hearing to support him. This family appreciates the courtesy extended to Red by Judge Brimmer and his willingness to consider the wisdom Red had to impart. It was a breath of fresh air to see Red on January 21!
Juanita Feyhl deserves tremendous praise and thanks for being the “rock” and for “just being there” always for her grandchildren, Abbie and Phoebe, Ned's stepdaughters. Ned loves these children with all his heart and appreciates the stability Juanita has always provided in their lives.
At this time I wish to particularly thank those who voluntarily took their time to write Judge Brimmer. They are:
Jessica Solon Nielsen
Doris A. Brown
Richard E. Ruff
I would like to identify The Solon Family. We include Ned’s long and devoted friends, Vince and Kellie Virgilio and their children Jessie and Justin, in The Family. Then there are Ned’s children, Savannah and Kody Hess. I am very proud of Tim Solon, Ned’s father, and our children--namely, Cyndy Pryor, Lloyd T. Solon, Natalie A. Hansen and Nathaniel E. “Ned” Solon. Ned's entire family wishes to thank all those who have been involved with helping Ned throughout this ordeal.
Bette Ina Brown