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Case dismissed against woman in child porn case

September 12, 2017 - 11:33 pm Updated: September 15, 2017 - 11:10 pm

HUDSON — A case against a woman accused of possessing and promoting child pornography was dismissed in Columbia County Court on Tuesday.

State Supreme Court Judge Richard J. McNally of Rensselaer County dismissed the case against 34-year-old Ciera Patrick, saying there was no evidence to show the defendant had “exclusive use” of the technology which contained the child pornography.

Patrick was indicted on May 18 in Columbia County Court on 15 counts of promoting sexual performance by a child and 15 counts of possessing sexual performance of a child.

With no other charges pending from the District Attorney’s Office, Patrick was set to be released after Tuesday’s proceedings.

“The Hudson Police and the New York State Police worked very hard and diligently,” said District Attorney Paul Czajka. “I thank them for that.”

McNally told Patrick she would likely appear in Columbia County Family Court.

“We have responsibilities ... as adults — especially of minor children,” McNally said.

The trial began Monday with jury selection but before jurors were chosen, McNally said the defense had opted for a bench trial instead of a trial by jury.

During the trial, prosecutors argued the alleged crimes took place in Patrick’s apartment where several hard drives, computers and cameras were seized.

Hudson Police Detective Nicolas Pierro testified police received information alleging a Hudson man was abusing a child in his apartment and obtained a warrant to search his residence.

Pierro walked into 41 North Second St. on Nov. 4, 2016, to find wires and cameras hooked up along the walls. Multiple computers, hard drives and cell phones were also found inside, he said.

In the alleged victim’s bedroom, under a smoke detector, police discovered a small camera, Pierro said. Inside the alleged victim’s room, there was a booth made of plywood.

Police also found a camera above the bathroom door that pointed at the toilet, Pierro said.

The search yielded 15 cell phones, 15 storage devices, nine computers and five cameras, each of which was delivered to the State Police’s Computer Crimes Laboratory for analysis, police have said.

There were four other people living in the house at the time, including an adult male, two male minors and the alleged victim, Pierro said.

The alleged victim said in writing to the court that she would testify Patrick had no involvement in the crimes, McNally said.

The alleged victim was ultimately was not called to testify.

The Register-Star does not identify the alleged victims of sex crimes.

A similar indictment against Patrick’s former co-defendant, Jason Davis, was dismissed last week by Columbia County Court Judge Jonathan Nichols.

Davis pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child porn in March. He also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges of drug possession. He was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in state prison on the child pornography charge. He was sentenced to 7 years on the drug possession charges.

Nichols ruled Davis could not be tried separately for each count of possessing child pornography since it is a part of the same criminal act.

The District Attorney’s Office has appealed the decision in a notice to renew and reargue.

In an affidavit, Czajka argued that, not only did the crimes of possession and production occur at different times over the course of several dates, but also occurred over several years.

In his affidavit, Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty said he told the court in March that although one count was filed against Davis at the time, more charges were likely pending, given information he received from the state’s computer crime lab.

Davis’ public defender has until Sept. 27 to submit his opposition to the notice, Czajka said.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.