Prince George’s County Prosecutor Cracks Down on Child Pornography Sentencing

“Moving forward, our office will continue to pursue stiff penalties [for child pornography cases] …”

That was the strong message delivered by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy on November 20, 2023, following the sentencing of Patrick Wojahn. Wojahn, the former mayor of College Park, pled guilty to 140 counts of possession and/or distribution of child pornography and was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. The prosecutor assigned to that case explained during the sentencing hearing, “The reason why he pled to 140 counts was because our office is not going to take a position as to which child deserves to have their rape—that was memorialized on video and forever lives on the internet—pled to.”

So, you can imagine the angst my client felt when he learned on December 7, 2023—just a little over two weeks after the Wojahn sentencing—that he had been indicted with the same criminal offenses, in the same jurisdiction, by the same prosecutor. Like Wojahn, my client had no prior criminal record, was well-educated, a devoted family man with a good paying job. Yet here he was facing the possibility of decades in prison.

Fortunately, he made the right decision in calling us. One of the first steps we undertook in our representation was to secure the assistance of a digital forensic expert, who was able to scrutinize the meta-data associated with the allegations; what we learned from that data was that there was a serious legal issue with the State’s case. At our first appearance in Circuit Court, we raised the issue with the prosecutor, and, after extensive negotiations, managed to secure an amended Alford plea offer—which permits a defendant to accept the benefit of a plea deal without admitting guilt—to misdemeanor counts and a sentence of time served. Instead of spending several decades behind bars, our client went home that day.

Every case is unique. Past success stories such as this do not guarantee future results, but they do speak volumes as to the quality of work we provide for our clients. Often times in these types of cases, by pro-actively pursuing the appropriate therapy and anti-recidivism plan, we have had success advocating that the Court focus on rehabilitation instead of incarceration. If you have a pending criminal case or investigation, and would like to discuss it further, please call Patrick R. Seidel, Esq. at 410-385-9105.

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