Ex-prosecutor in prison on child porn charges could be out Thursday

Posted Aug. 11, 2011, at 3:02 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 11, 2011, at 6:42 p.m.
Attorney Peter Rodway (from left) and his client, James M. Cameron, leave the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor after Cameron made his first federal court appearance on Tuesday, February 17, 2009.
Attorney Peter Rodway (from left) and his client, James M. Cameron, leave the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor after Cameron made his first federal court appearance on Tuesday, February 17, 2009.

BANGOR, Maine — The former state prosecutor incarcerated at a federal prison in Colorado on child pornography charges could be on his way home to Maine as early as Thursday night after the judge who sentenced him set bail conditions.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on Tuesday ruled that James Cameron, 49, of Hallowell may be freed on bail while his appeal is pending. The case was remanded to U.S. District Judge John Woodcock in Bangor to set bail conditions.

The appellate court’s ruling reversed Woodcock’s denial of Cameron’s request for post-conviction bail in May.

Cameron, who was the state’s top drug prosecutor in the Maine Attorney General’s Office, is incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institute Englewood in Littleton, Colo., according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmate locator website. The minimum-security facility is located about 15 miles southwest of Denver.

A prison official said Thursday afternoon that he could not give out information about whether Cameron had been released or when he might be released.

As of 5 p.m. EDT, Cameron was listed as an inmate at the facility on the federal inmate locator website.

Woodcock’s post-conviction bail order, issued about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, would allow Cameron to be released on $75,000 unsecured bail, wear a GPS monitor, register as a sex offender and report in person to his federal probation officer within 72 hours of his release.

“From this court’s perspective,” Woodcock wrote in the order outlining bail conditions, “the only reasonable conclusion from the First Circuit’s Order is that it has preliminarily concluded that the court committed a manifestly serious error in arriving at its verdict so that the continued detention of Mr. Cameron would work an injustice.”

Cameron was not scheduled to be released before 2024.

It is the policy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office not to comment on cases until after they have been resolved. Efforts to reach federal prosecutors handling the appeal were unsuccessful Thursday.

Cameron was sentenced in March to 16 years in federal prison on child pornography charges.

He has been incarcerated since his conviction in August 2010 following a jury-waived trial on 13 counts of sending, receiving and possessing child pornography in 2006 and 2007.

Peter Charles Horstman, the Boston lawyer handling Cameron’s appeal, successfully argued in a brief filed with the 1st Circuit Court that a June decision, Bullcoming v. New Mexico, by the U.S. Supreme Court about the violation of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness applies in Cameron’s case. A witness for the prosecution in Cameron’s case produced evidence that he — the witness — had no expertise in or knowledge of how, when, where and by whom the incriminating evidence was allegedly gathered and was merely a records keeper from the legal department of a computer company, the attorney argued in his brief.

The government argued that the recent high court decision had no effect on the decisions Woodcock made at the trial concerning Cameron’s Sixth Amendment rights.

“The First Circuit’s citation of Bullcoming [v. New Mexico] strongly signals that it has concluded the admission of those images was erroneous and since the images formed the basis for the government’s charges, the appellate court may well rule that Mr. Cameron is entitled to a new trial or deem him not guilty,” Woodcock said.

Oral arguments before the appellate court in Boston have not been scheduled.

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business

Similar Articles

More in Bangor