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#1 Aug 6, 2007
Here's the recent news on this entrapment scheme:
McMaster tells task force to keep working despite judge's ruling
The Associated Press
* External Link http://www.goupstate.com/
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster is telling members of a task force that targets Internet sex predators to continue their work despite a judge's ruling that could put the cases in jeopardy.
Circuit Judge Mark Hayes ruled last month that investigators incorrectly used a federal law to get the identity of a suspect accused of trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.
McMaster has appealed the ruling but acknowledged that most pending cases would be threatened if the decision stands.
"Frankly, it's a much worse scenario than we originally thought," said McMaster spokesman Mark Plowden. "The consequences of that order being upheld are dire."
The judge's ruling came in the case of 33-year-old former prosecutor Anthony Clark Odom, who was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor after authorities said he used the Internet to try to entice what he thought was a 13-year-old girl to have sex with him.
Hayes ruled the federal law authorities used to get subscriber information from Odom's phone company and Internet provider was not supported by South Carolina law, and he wouldn't allow the information to be used at Odom's trial. Prosecutors said they need the information to link Odom to the online chats.
The federal law only requires a judge to sign a document. Hayes ruled state law requires a higher standard, including probable cause and submitting a sworn oath, to obtain similar evidence.
The task force made its 85th arrest Thursday - 75-year-old Donald Joseph Murphy of North Charleston was charged with one count of criminal solicitation of a minor.
Of the previous arrests, 24 have resulted in guilty pleas and two defendants have been found guilty at trial, Plowden said.
In his letter to the task force, McMaster noted that the use of the federal "d-order" has been upheld by another South Carolina Circuit Court judge.
"No one can guarantee the outcome of an appeal, but I am confident that our d-order process is sound and will continue to utilize it vigorously to prosecute these sexual predators of children," McMaster wrote.
#3 Aug 8, 2007
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)- They are accused of preying on children, and some have even pleaded guilty to these crimes. Dozens of internet sex predator convictions could now be overturned.
Since 2004 there have been 84 arrests, all men who thought they were talking to 13 or 14-year-old boys and girls online. Twenty-four have already pleaded guilty.
"They're guilty. We know they're guilty. You ought to read this stuff. It will make you sick," says Attorney General Henry McMaster.
But some of them may soon receive a get out of jail free card. A ruling by Spartanburg Circuit Judge Mark Hayes has put the state's internet predator program in jeopardy.
McMaster says, "We think this order by the judge is wrong and will be reversed on appeal."
It stems from the case of Anthony Odom, 33, an attorney and former assistant solicitor in Aiken.
Odom was arrested for having sexual chats with an officer posing as a 13-year-old girl. But before Odom went to trial, Judge Hayes called into question the procedure authorities used to track down Odom and other internet predator suspects, because an internet screen name could belong to anyone around the world.
South Carolina law enforcement goes to internet service providers - like Yahoo, Road Runner and AOL - to get a suspect's personal information. McMaster says, "The federal and state law allows it. There's no prohibition to doing this. We are following the federal statute."
Judge Hayes doesn't agree. While he's gone on record saying he can't comment on the case, Hayes noted state law requires a higher standard than the federal law regarding how authorities obtain personal information from internet companies. It's an argument that was used in another case back in May of 2006, but was thrown out.
"The law is good. The procedures are good. It's working well," says the attorney general.
Before the state's Internet Predator program passed in 2004, the procedures on how they get personal information were signed off on by the state supreme court.
So what's next? The state's internet predator program is moving forward, but the attorney general's office has turned its cases over to the feds while the appeals process continues. It's a process that could take up to a year, officials say.
#4 Aug 9, 2007
If Anthony Odom was communicating with the undercover cop who was lying about his age for four months, it seems like he would have been able to talk him into meeting him somewhere. One can only conclude that Anthony Odom was playing him also and never had any intention of meeting nor sexually abusing a minor. You really can't believe everything you read on the Internet.
#5 Aug 6, 2008
good job judge hayes , i hope you will win this and that odom will be set free. i think judge hayes did stand up to the sc attorney general and did what he thought was right, and he was following the constitution of the united states . more then alot of them are doing , i think they are are worry about there job .
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