LIMA — Allen County prosecutors have until Aug. 6 to respond in writing to a motion to dismiss all charges against a man charged with 20 sex-related crimes.
Michael Porter, 49, was indicted in March on 10 counts each of pandering sexually-oriented material involving a minor and the illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, felonies of the second- and third-degree, respectfully.
Porter’s attorney says the indictment against his client came more than two years after the alleged crime was committed and should be rejected by the court. In his motion to dismiss the case, Wapakoneta attorney Thomas Lucente repeatedly referred to what he called an “unjustifiable delay” on the part of the state in bringing charges against Porter.
In his motion, Lucente states that on Dec. 5, 2017, while an inmate at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Porter was found to be in possession of a cell phone. Porter was serving a 20-year prison sentence out of Seneca County for attempted rape and the use of minors in nudity-oriented materials at the time.
The cell phone was sent to a private telecommunications firm for analysis, and Lucente alleged the analyst, Shawn Wakefield, “without a warrant searched through the cellular phone and found what he believed to be child pornography.” The motion states that on March 26, 2018, a warrant was issued in Columbus Municipal Court to search the phone “that had already been searched.”
Lucente alleges that on Aug. 8, 2018, Trooper G.L. Gibson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol met with a member of the patrol’s computer crimes unit and took possession of two thumb drives of data downloaded from the cell phone. Gibson said he would set up an appointment with the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office to review the evidence, although it is unclear if such a meeting took place, according to the motion.
In his motion filed in April of this year, Lucente pointed out that Porter was indicted March 12 – 582 days after Gibson obtained the thumb drives and 828 days (or more than two years) after the phone was seized.
“Coincidentally, Mr. Porter’s (prison release) date is expected to be June 8, 2020. Clearly, officials waited to indict Mr. Porter until just before his expected release,” Lucente said.
The defense attorney also said that because the cell phone in question was smuggled into the prison, “possibly by an employee and given to an inmate,” it was used by many inmates and was passed around on a regular basis. The actual ownership of the phone is not certain, he said.
Lucente, in asking for a dismissal of the case, said that due to the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s “ridiculously long investigation” his client has been “unjustly prejudiced” and his rights have been violated.