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Jury selection begins in child pornography case

September 11, 2017 - 11:30 pm Updated: September 12, 2017 - 11:02 pm

HUDSON — Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of one of two Hudson residents charged with promoting and possessing child pornography.

On May 18, Ciera Patrick, 34, was indicted in Columbia County Court on 15 counts of promoting sexual performance by a child and 15 counts of possessing sexual performance of a child.

Hudson Police also arrested Jason Davis in connection with the case.

Patrick was Davis’ live-in girlfriend and the two had lived in the apartment for several years, Hudson police have said.

Davis and Patrick were arrested by Hudson police on Nov. 4, after police executed a search warrant, leading to the discovery of an alleged “makeshift studio” in Davis’ North Second Street apartment — known as the low-rise.

The warrant was served after police received information alleging a Hudson man was abusing a child in his apartment, according to Hudson police.

The victim is under the age of 17, according to court documents.

State Supreme County Judge Richard J. McNally of Rensselaer County said Monday that Patrick’s trial is expected to last until Friday. The trial is expected to continue today at 9 a.m. with jury selection.

Davis was arraigned on similar charges in April. But Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols dismissed one indictment filed against Davis in connection to the case because 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. He was sentenced to 7 years on the drug possession charges.

In a written decision filed last Wednesday, 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.

“Where two or more offenses are joinable in a single accusatory instrument against a person by reasons of being based upon the same criminal transaction... such person may not... be separately prosecuted for such offenses,” Nichols wrote, quoting New York State Criminal Procedure Law.

In response, the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to renew and reargue their case a day later.

In an affidavit to the court, District Attorney Paul 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.

Nichols moved ahead with sentencing and called for a public offender to represent Davis in the separate charge, according to the documents.

Carty said that a search warrant executed at a North Second Street apartment and two vehicles, yielded 15 cell phones, 15 storage devices, 9 computers and five cameras, each of which was delivered to the State Police’s Computer Crimes Laboratory for analysis.

A backlog at the “overburdened” New York State Police Computer Forensic Laboratory prevented an analysis within the 45-day turnover for a defendant to be indicted by a grand jury, Carty said. Ultimately, the technology was fully analyzed by the end of July — nearly 8 months after the search warrant was executed.

A court decision is pending on the District Attorney’s notice to renew and reargue.

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