Judge considers Dana Wilson’s motion to withdraw plea to child pornography charge

Posted Jan. 03, 2014, at 11:43 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 03, 2014, at 5:15 p.m.
Dana Wilson leaves the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Nov. 1, 2013 after attempting to withdraw his no contest plea for possessing child pornography.
Dana Wilson leaves the courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Nov. 1, 2013 after attempting to withdraw his no contest plea for possessing child pornography.

BANGOR, Maine — A Superior Court justice Friday took under advisement a motion made by former Maine Sports Hall of Famer and local disc jockey Dana Wilson to withdraw his no-contest plea to a child pornography charge and have a trial.

Wilson’s attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor, filed a motion in October seeking to withdraw his client’s no-contest plea to a child pornography possession charge.

No-contest pleas result in convictions.

Superior Court Justice William Anderson said after a 20-minute hearing on the motion Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center that he expected to issue a ruling soon so the case would not be delayed any longer than necessary. The judge did not give a decision date.

Wilson did not address the judge or testify during the brief hearing.

Tzovarras told the judge that Wilson wanted to take the action because he is innocent of the offense and believes he did not fully understand the state’s burden [of proof], potential issues for defense and consequences of a no-contest plea.”

The defense attorney said that there was nothing in the police report to indicate that Wilson sought out the material, and he never confessed to the police.

Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, opposed the motion.

“Mr. Wilson has not said that he disagrees with the state’s evidence, just that he’s changed his mind,” he said. “There’s no reason for him to have changed his mind other than he’s trying to manipulate the system.”

The judge must consider four factors in deciding whether Wilson should be allowed to withdraw his plea. They include the length of time between his entering the plea and seeking to withdraw it; the potential prejudice to the prosecution; the defendant’s assertion of innocence; and any deficiency in the proceeding at which Wilson entered his plea.

Tzovarras said Thursday that there were no problems with the plea hearing, conducted by District Court Judge Greg Campbell.

On May 23, Wilson pleaded no contest before District Court Judge Campbell to one count of possession of sexually explicit material, a Class C crime, as his jury-waived trial was about to begin.

On Aug. 19, the day before he was to be sentenced, Wilson fired his previous attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor. Silverstein said Wilson sent him an email dismissing him but was given no reasons by his client.

Roberts said in August that he would recommend the judge sentence Wilson to between 2 1/2 and three years in prison with all but six to nine months suspended. Roberts also said he would urge the judge to impose two years of probation.

Silverstein said in August that he had planned to urge Anderson to sentence Wilson to probation but not jail time. Tzovarras was expected to do the same before filing the motion.

Monitoring of child pornography sites by law enforcement officials outside Maine led to an Internet address belonging to Wilson in February 2011, according to a previously published report. He was indicted by a Penobscot County grand jury in June 2012.

Wilson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in May 2012 for his basketball feats at Bangor’s Husson College, now Husson University, where he graduated in 1974. That honor was revoked May 29, 2013, by the hall’s board of directors, according to a previously published report.

Wilson remains free on $1,000 unsecured bail with conditions that include having no contact with children under the age of 16.

Wilson, who has no prior criminal record, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the charge.

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