Child porn evidence on the line | AspenTimes.com
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Child porn evidence on the line

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The fate of a child pornography case involving a former Aspen drama teacher is in the hands of a district judge who must decide whether to admit key evidence. Bradford Moore’s lawyer is attempting to have all evidence in the child porn case thrown out. If the evidence – Internet images – is suppressed, it could virtually kill the prosecution’s case. Moore, 58, who taught drama in the Aspen School District for 11 years, faces charges of felony possession of child pornography after turning himself in to police in November. The school district subsequently fired him. At issue are the 100-plus images of child sexual exploitation found on Moore’s computer by a forensics laboratory. Moore’s lawyer, Saskia Jordan, argued that evidence should be inadmissible because the September search of Moore’s house was without probable cause and violated the Fourth Amendment. The hearing on the motion to suppress, which court employees said lasted more than five hours Monday, was closed to the public. The Aspen Times objected to the hearing being closed, and Pitkin County District Judge James Boyd gave no reason why proceedings were sealed. However, the redacted parts of the motion to suppress appear to apply to a single informant who provided the background leading to the search of Moore’s home. Neither assistant district attorney Gail Nichols nor Jordan responded to questions about the informant. The informant played a significant role in the motion to suppress evidence. The first reason Jordan listed in her motion for police not having probable cause for a search warrant was a “lack of reliability” of the informant.”The affidavit contains no allegation whatsoever as to the reliability or credibility of the initial hearsay declarant or informant, [portion redacted]” Jordan wrote in the motion. “Even taken at face value, the factual allegations by [name redacted] do not establish probable cause to believe Mr. Moore was engaged in criminal conduct.” In all, Jordan argued there was not sufficient probable cause for a search warrant; the warrant did not authorize a search of the computer investigators seized from Moore’s home; the search of the computer was outside a 10-day limit set forth in the warrant; the search of the home and computer were too general and violated the Fourth Amendment.Nichols, the prosecutor in the case, filed a response to the motion that she said shows the constitutionality of the search and backing up the reasons that the evidence from the computer are legitimate. According to the search warrant affidavit, Aspen Police school resource officer Brad Onsgard contacted Pitkin County investigator Bruce Benjamin on Sept. 13. Documents state that Onsgard had contact with the informant. The next day, investigators searched Moore’s house. There, they seized Moore’s homemade computer and sent it to the Rocky Mountain Computer Forensics Laboratory, which found more than 100 images on the computer. The felony charge of sexual exploitation of children carries a possible prison sentence of two to six years and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. If convicted, Moore would have to register as a sex offender.Moore’s next court appearance, a review with an appearance of parties is scheduled for April 16. A decision on the motion to suppress evidence is expected at that time. Editor’s note: The Aspen Times incorrectly reported that all future proceedings of the Moore case are closed to the public. The latest motion hearings, as well as significant parts of court documents, have been sealed. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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