H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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Tough Sentence For Child Pornography in Colorado – Federal Prosecution

On May 27, 2010


DENVER – Wayne Cook, age 45, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to serve 84 months (7 years) in federal prison for possession of child pornography, United States Attorney David Gaouette and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis announced. Following his prison sentence, Cook was ordered to serve 5 years on supervised release. Judge Blackburn also ordered Cook to participate in a sex offender evaluation program as well as register as a sex offender. Cook was also told that he is subject to unannounced searches, including his residence, vehicle, computer or other electronic media. The defendant appeared at the sentencing hearing free on bond. He was ordered to report to a Bureau of Prisons facility after designation.

Wayne Cook was first charged by Information on January 14, 2010. To be charged by Information a defendant waives the Constitutional right to be indicted by a grand jury. On February 1, 2010, an amended Information was filed. Cook pled guilty before Judge Blackburn on February 3, 2010. He was sentenced on May 25, 2010.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on April 23, 2008, an FBI agent in Oklahoma, operating in an undercover capacity, connected to a “peer to peer” network, then searched for files of child pornography available for downloading. Further investigation revealed that the child pornography came from a Highlands Ranch address belonging to Wayne Cook. On October 31, 2008, FBI special agents executed a federal search warrant at the Highlands Ranch address. Agents seized a computer, which was later subjected to forensic examination. That examination revealed that the computer contained approximately 2,000 images and 30 videos of suspected child pornography. All of the images contained on the computer depicted children under the age of 12 years old.

The Cook case was investigated by Special Agents and Task Force officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Innocent Images Task Force.

H. Michael’s Take:

If you are prosecuted in the Federal System for Child Pornography – the penalties are very harsh as a result of a crackdown by Congress begun on 2004 on the proliferation of “Innocent Images.”

These cases are very difficult and require a great deal of experience and understanding of the poissible defenses — and – in the absence of a “workable” defense – negotiating with the United States Prosecutor for a reasoned – pre-indictment agreement.