A Washington County man who was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison for sharing child pornography videos will get a new trial following a decision today by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
David Cunningham, 39, of Eighty Four, was convicted at a 2010 jury trial and sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.
Three circuit court judges, though, said that the judge erred by allowing the prosecution to show some of the videos to the jury.
The court made mistakes "not only by failing to review the videos prior to admitting them but also by allowing all of those videos to be shown to the jury, because the highly inflammatory nature of two of them clearly and substantially outweighed their probative value pertaining to the crimes charged," the judges wrote. "Those errors were not harmless, and we will therefore vacate [the sentence] and remand for a new trial."
Mr. Cunningham's computer included some 50 videos showing sexual activity involving children, some as young as 2 years old, according to prosecutors. He previously served a state sentence of probation for indecent exposure and public drunkenness after an incident involving a four-year-old girl.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542