According to Orange County Superior Court records, a Costa Mesa man was sentenced on Monday to one year in jail for possession of child pornography and weapons offenses.
The 66-year-old man first entered a plea of not guilty on March 14, 2013, in the Orange County Superior Court. The man had been arrested in December of 2012 after police were tipped off that he allegedly had the materials to make bombs in his possession, just three days after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
According to reports, upon investigating the tip that the man had pipe bomb materials in his home workshop, Costa Mesa police allegedly discovered the man had 33 photographs of girls appearing to be younger than 10 years old in suggestive poses.
The defendant was originally charged with felony possession of child pornography in addition to one felony count each of intent to unlawfully make a destructive device, possession, selling or manufacturing of a short-barreled shotgun, and possession of an assault weapon, according to court records.
After changing his plea to guilty, the man was sentenced on Monday to one year in jail.
Should I enter a plea of guilty or not guilty?
As a criminal defendant, one of the choices you will be faced with is entering a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. This is an important decision that you must make for yourself based upon the insight provided by your criminal defense attorney and the circumstances surrounding your case. You may wonder why one would enter a guilty or no contest plea in the first place, but the prosecuting attorney may attempt to offer a seemingly attractive agreement (plea bargain) that would reduce your charges and sentence if you plead guilty. This can avoid the time and expense of a criminal trial, and depending on the evidence against you, it may provide an opportunity to avoid a maximum sentence.
If there is a chance that you can avoid a conviction, however, you should do whatever you can to seek an acquittal or dismissal. Though a plea bargain may seem in your best interests, a better result would be to avoid criminal penalties and a criminal record altogether. Even if your case seems hopeless, there may be defense strategies that you have not considered or that have not yet been revealed. By conducting a thorough, independent investigation and analysis of evidence gathered and documented by law enforcement, your attorney may be able to uncover errors or misconduct that could be used to have evidence declared inadmissible.
Remember, criminal charges must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt if a defendant is to be convicted. If your attorney is confident that doubt can be established in the jurors' minds, it may be time to consider entering a not guilty plea. Every case is different, of course, so you will need to make your decision based on the information at hand and your own needs and concerns.
While we can only speculate what may have been behind this Costa Mesa man's decision to enter a guilty plea, a one-year jail sentence is not nearly the penalty that would have been imposed if he had been convicted of all 33 counts of child pornography possession in addition to the felony charges associated with the explosives and weapons allegedly found in his possession. He may have decided that accepting a plea bargain and reduced sentence was in his best interests.
Would you like to discuss a current case or gain insight regarding your concerns related to a criminal investigation against you or a loved one? Call an Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman today and get applicable, accurate information from a knowledgeable professional. (714) 733-1737