The Utah Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Sandy man sentenced to 45 years in prison for possessing thousands of pictures and videos containing child pornography.
Wayne Joe Bergeson, 59, was convicted in 2009 by a 3rd District Court jury on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and five counts of possession of firearms by a convicted felon, all second-degree felonies.
Utah Attorney General’s Office spokesman Paul Murphy said on Monday that the appellate court had rejected Bergeson’s claim that his trial court should have suppressed the evidence and that his attorneys at the time were ineffective.
Specifically, Bergeson’s lawyers took issue with prosecutors being able to use evidence gathered by detectives who looked up his IP (Internet Protocol) address and then used that to identify the computers seized.
In January 2007, the state’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force used a battering ram to force open the door of a home where Bergeson was squatting. Investigators with a search warrant found 1,700 videos of child pornography on CDs and 3,500 pictures and 1,300 videos of child pornography on various computers in Bergeson’s home.
Prosecutors said the material involved children as young as 2 years old, and some images included bestiality.
In upholding the conviction, the appellate court left undisputed 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton’s decision during trial that investigator’s use of specialized software to find the suspect’s IP address did not in itself amount to a search requiring a warrant.
In a memorandum decision, Senior Appellate Judge Russell Bench wrote that Bergeson also had failed to show that his trial counsel had been legally ineffective in his defense.
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