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Handley's Sentencing for 'Obscene' Manga Delayed

posted on 2010-01-25 15:37 EST
Both sides in Iowa man's case discuss "joint sentencing recommendation"

The defense for Christopher Handley, the Iowa man on trial for possessing manga "drawings of children being sexually abused," asked on Thursday for a delay in his sentencing. The sentencing was originally scheduled for Monday, but the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted the motion by Eric A. Chase, Handley's attorney, to continue the sentencing hearing on February 8.

Assistant United States Attorney Craig Peyton Gaumer, the lead lawyer for the prosecution, agreed with Chase to push back the sentencing due to the United States Probation's late filing of the Final Presentence Investigation Report on Handley. The two sides also agreed to the delay because they are "discussing the potential of a joint sentencing recommendation, and need time for additional discussions." The ICv2 retail news source notes that the discussions indicate the possibility of a sentencing deal. The motion adds that Handley is not currently in custody.

Handley faces up to 15 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine. On July 30, the court gave notice that two computers and "approximately seven books of Japanese manga, including but not limited to any and all books, materials and visual depictions" which had been seized from Handley were forfeited for disposal.

Handley was accused of receiving and possessing obscene material — as opposed to child pornography — via the United States Postal Service in May of 2006. In particular, he was accused of having "books containing visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, specifically Japanese manga drawings of minor females being sexually abused by adult males and animals" Federal Judge James E. Gritzner struck down some of the charges against Handley and ruled parts of the PROTECT Act of 2003 unconstitutional for restricting free speech. However, Handley still faced charges for possession of obscene material because it was "moved in interstate commerce," and his defense had been negotiating a guilty plea for a possible lighter sentence.

Last May, Handley pleaded guilty under "Title 18, United States Code, Section 1466A(b)(1), which prohibits the possession of any type of visual depiction, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct that is obscene." He also pleaded guilty to one count of mailing obscene material, and he agreed to forfeit all seized property.


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