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Options running out for sex offender hit with new charges

While most communities don't care to tolerate any type of crime, few crimes get as strong a reaction as a sex offense. Judges, prosecutors and legislators in Wisconsin are under intense pressure to come down hard on sex offenders and punish them to the highest degree possible. As a result, sex crimes carry lengthy prison sentences and offenders are typically required to register with law enforcement authorities after their sentences have ended.

Sometimes, however, defendants are able to effectively demonstrate their remorse and intentions to receive treatment to the point that they are given a less harsh sentence than sentencing guidelines recommend. It's up to defendants to follow through and avoid further offenses in the future. If they fail to do that, any goodwill or benefit of the doubt offered by a judge tends to dry up quickly. This appears to be the case for a former Waukesha, Wisconsin, man accused of producing and possessing underage pornography.

The man was convicted of sexual assault a couple of years ago and in 2010 was sentenced to two years in prison. But a Waukesha judge decided to stay the man's prison term and instead ordered him to serve just four months in jail, followed by six years of probation. The man was recently indicted on two counts of underage pornography production and a single count of underage pornography possession. If convicted, the combined charges could put the man in prison for life. That's because his prior conviction raises the mandatory minimum sentences for the crimes.

It will be very difficult for the man to avoid serving decades of time in prison; a judge is much less likely this time around to give the man a light sentence. While the counsel of an attorney who focuses on sex crimes can make a significant difference, it's important for defendants to bear in mind the consequences of being repeatedly convicted of sex offenses.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Waukesha man indicted on child porn charges," John Diedrich, Feb. 5, 2013

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