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Court Uses Risk Assessment to Weigh Defendants Danger to Public


The plaintiff in this case is the People of the State of New York. The defendant in the case is Robert W. Fitzpatrick. The plaintiff is represented by John M. Muehl, the District Attorney. The defendant is represented by James Ferrari. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said this case is being heard in the County Court of Otsego County. The judge that is overseeing the case is the Honorable Brian D. Burns.

Case Background

Robert W. Fitzpatrick, the defendant pled guilty to the class E felony a crime of possession of a sexual performance of a child. According to the Sex Offender Registration Act the court is required to review the risk assessment instrument to determine the risk level the defendant presents to the public.

When carrying out the risk assessment of the defendant the court must look at the number of victims, the approximate ages of the victims, and the relationship of the victims with the defendant. The determination is based on whether the children that were in the pictures that were downloaded on the computer owned by the defendant are the victims of the crime of possessing a sexual performance by a child.

Court Discussion and Decision

In the Correction Law section 168 of the Sex Offender Registration Act the “victim” is not explicitly defined. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said there is no guidance provided by this section of the law in this particular issue. In reviewing case laws on this type of issue, there is little guidance as well.

There is one reported case that is relevant. This case is from the Kings County Supreme Court which found that in cases of possessing a sexual performance by a child there must be actual physical conduct between the accused and the child. Additionally, the Kings County Supreme Court found that the other factors could be acknowledged and applied to the crime of possessing sexual performance by a child including the number of victims, ages of the victims, and the course of sexual misconduct. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said the ultimate conclusion of the Kings County Supreme Court was that a child that was depicted in performing sexual performance in a picture was not contemplated under the law. It was found that a broader definition of the word victim would include the mental and physical injuries that are sustained by these children sustain. Additionally, people who obtain these performances either from the internet or in other ways are supporting the exploitation of children and are pedophiles.

In this case the court finds that there is significant evidence that shows that adults who view images of children being abused sexually for their own pleasure are pedophiles and pose a serious threat to the community. The study analyzed the behaviors of pedophiles who had not been convicted of actually engaging in physical contact with their victims. Of these pedophiles, 52% admitted to having some type of sexual conduct with a female child in the past year, 26% admitted to having sexual conduct with a male child in the past year, 32% admitted to raping someone in the past year, and 8% stated they had masturbated in public in the past year.

The court has studied this case and researched the issue thoroughly. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said that in conclusion, the Court finds that the children that were shown to be sexually abused in the images on the computer of the defendant are considered to be victims of his crime. The risk assessment instrument used in his case will reflect this fact.

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