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State v. Baker

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

April 11, 2018

PAUL A. BAKER Appellant

          Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 320,621 Honorable Brady D. O'Callaghan, Judge

          LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT By: Douglas Lee Harville Counsel for Appellant

          PAUL A. BAKER Pro Se

          JAMES EDWARD STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee

          MEKISHA S. CREAL ERICA JEFFERSON Assistant District Attorneys

          Before WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and COX, JJ.

          COX, J.

         This criminal appeal arises from the First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish. Paul A. Baker ("Baker") was convicted of one count of pornography involving juveniles. He was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. Baker filed a timely motion to reconsider sentence, which was denied. Baker now appeals. For the following reasons, Baker's conviction and sentence are affirmed. The case is remanded for the limited purpose of providing Baker with the appropriate written notice of the sex offender registration requirements.


         On March 3, 2014, Baker was charged by bill of information with pornography involving juveniles in violation of La. R.S. 14:81.1. Baker waived arraignment and pled not guilty.

         On June 20, 2014 and March 23, 2015, Baker's attorney filed motions to suppress physical evidence found on Baker's computer hard drive. Following a hearing, the motions were denied. On April 14, 2016, Baker filed a pro se motion to suppress post-Miranda statements made by him to investigating officers. Following a free and voluntary hearing on September 27, 2016, the motion to suppress was denied and the statements were deemed admissible.

         Baker's trial was held on February 15, 2017. Agent Alex Harris, who was with the High Crimes Unit of the Louisiana Attorney General's Office at the time of this offense, testified that he initiated an undercover peer-to- peer investigation[1] in August 2013. Agent Harris stated that the investigation focused on identifying pornographic material being shared among computers with the use of special software. Agent Harris explained that he was able to identify several files indicative of child pornography associated with IP address According to the testimony of Agent Harris, the files that he downloaded from that IP address included sexually explicit images, including rape and abuse, of children between the ages of 3 and 10. He then sent a subpoena to AT&T, the service provider for that IP address, to obtain subscriber information. The subscriber was Jakari Greer[2] at 1330 Summer Street in Shreveport. Agent Harris transferred the investigation to Agent Lisa Koprowski Maher, with the Louisiana Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General.

         Agent Maher testified that she obtained and executed a search warrant at Baker's home, 1330 Summer Street, on January 9, 2014. Baker and his wife were present in the home when the warrant was executed. Agent Maher testified that Baker was read his Miranda rights and verbally acknowledged that he understood his rights. Baker also executed a waiver of rights form. Agent Maher stated that Baker admitted to downloading child pornography.

         A desktop computer and tablet were found during the search of the home. Agent Maher testified that Baker stated both devices belonged to him. Baker told investigators that "Dad" was the username for the computer and provided the password as well. Agent Maher testified that a forensic search of the hard drive revealed videos and images of children between the ages of 2 and 14 in sexually explicit poses and activities.

         Agent Maher was questioned about the five-month delay between the initial investigation revealing the images and the issuance of the search warrant. She testified that obtaining information from service providers can take time. Agent Maher further testified that it is common for the name of the subscriber on record with the service provider to be different from the person who resides in the house. She explained that the subscriber information is used to determine the municipal address. She further explained that interviews and forensic searches of devices are used to determine who is downloading the pornography. According to Agent Maher, Baker claimed sole ownership and use of the user account "Dad," which is the only location on the hard drive that contained child pornography.

         Agent David Ferris, Special Agent with the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Attorney General's Office, testified that he assisted in the execution of the search warrant at Baker's residence. Agent Ferris was accepted by the trial court as an expert in peer-to-peer investigations. Agent Ferris conducted a post-Miranda recorded interview with Baker, which was admitted into evidence as State's Exhibit 5 during the agent's testimony. On the audio recording, Baker admits that he downloaded child pornography and explains how he searched for the images/videos and that he sometimes masturbated while looking at the images. Agent Ferris testified that Baker stated he is the only user of the computer.

         Detective Jeff Allday, of the Shreveport Police Departments's Sex Crimes Division, testified that he is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, which strives to catch internet predators. Detective Allday assisted in the execution of the search warrant and testified that he secured the home while Agents Maher and Ferris began previewing the devices. Detective Allday testified that he observed the preview and that he saw approximately 40 images and 10 videos containing child pornography. In Detective Allday's opinion, the children depicted were between the ages of 2 and 5 and the images were of vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse. Detective Allday placed Baker under arrest.

         Thomas Ferguson, a forensic examiner with the Attorney General's Office, was accepted as an expert in the field of computer forensics analysis. Agent Ferguson explained his procedure for making a forensic copy of the devices and stated that, while examining Baker's hard drive, he found files containing child pornography, specifically, 226 videos, 1,330 pictures, and 1,856 duplicated files. Agent Ferguson found 147 "unique" files associated with child pornography. For trial purposes, the state selected a small sample of the images/videos. Agent Ferguson identified 10 images and 1 video, which were admitted into ...

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