Saturday, 25 May 2024

Former public defender sentenced for child pornography possession

Editor's note: This story contains graphic information that some readers may find disturbing.





LAKEPORT – An attorney who formerly represented juveniles in criminal and civil cases in the Lake County court system has been sentenced to a year on home detention and three years of formal probation for felony possession of child pornography.


Robert Wayne Wiley, 75, was sentenced on Friday before retired Fresno County Superior Court Judge Harry N. Papadakis, who heard Wiley's case because the rest of the county's judges had recused themselves.


Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg said Wiley received 120 days in county jail and three years of formal, supervised probation.


Wiley's defense attorney, J. David Markham, declined comment on the case.


Borg said Papadakis directed that Wiley be allowed to serve his jail sentence in home detention. Wiley also must register as a sex offender, will not be allowed Internet access and will be subject to search and seizure under the terms of his probation.


For many years Wiley acted as a defense attorney for juveniles offenders, holding a contract with Lake Legal Defense Services, as well as holding a contract with Lake County Superior Court to represent juveniles in civil cases, as Lake County News has reported. Both of those contracts were terminated when Wiley was arrested in September of 2007.


Because of his previous contact with the juvenile justice system, which was managed by Lake County Probation, that agency recused itself from doing a probation report for Wiley's case. Borg said the Mendocino County Probation Department stepped in and completed the report, which suggested the 120 days in jail.


Borg said Papadakis was concerned that Wiley's age and his previous work as a public defender would make Wiley a challenge to house safely in the Lake County Jail, thus the order that he serve his sentence at home.


Wiley previously had been charged with four felony counts of possessing child pornography, but the judge reduced that to two after a preliminary hearing last fall.


In January, Wiley reached an agreement with the District Attorney's Office and pleaded guilty to one felony count of possessing child pornography.


His case came to the attention of investigators in February of 2007, when he left a thumb drive – a small portable device that stores data – in the Department A courtroom, where juvenile matter are heard.


That thumb drive allegedly contained pornographic images, which were discovered when a bailiff opened the drive in an attempt to identify its owner.


In all, investigators would find pornographic materials on several other devices as well, including a thumb drive Wiley was wearing when he was arrested, the computer from his Lakeport office and his home, where they also located several hard drives.


“He was wearing the stuff to court and he had it at his office and he had it at his home,” said Borg.


Borg said he didn't have a total when it came to counting up all the pornographic images and materials, but he said he himself reviewed several hundred of them.


Not all of the materials they found in the investigation were contraband, he said. Some were nudist films; there also were videos of young boys taking part in wrestling tournaments, which were themselves innocent but were strange in the context of being found with the other materials.


Then there were the “very disturbing” materials that investigators found, showing very young children in pornographic situations, said Borg.


None of the images were of children that Wiley knew or represented, according to a previous statement by Borg.


Borg was required to notify the State Bar of California about Wiley's case. He wasn't sure of what action the association will take.


Donald Steedman, State Bar of California supervising trial council, said when they get a complaint about an attorney convicted of a felony they take action.


“The State Bar Court will automatically suspend the attorney from practice,” Steedman said.


Steedman said the State Bar Court must then hold a hearing to decide what discipline is to be imposed.


He said he believed they have already requested certified copies of Wiley's records from the Lake County Superior Court for the purposes of the State Bar Court proceedings.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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