Orange County, CA Ex-judge Kline gets prison

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Six years of legal wrangling ends with former O.C. Superior Court judge sentenced to 27 months for child pornography.

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The Orange County Register
LOS ANGELES – Former Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline offered "a lifetime of apologies" and then collapsed Tuesday as he was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

Kline, 66, had just learned that U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall was rejecting his bid to be placed on probation when his eyes fluttered and his knees buckled.

"I think I'm going to faint," he said as he crumbled into the arms of Paul S. Meyer, his defense attorney...

... Tuesday's sentencing ended nearly six years of legal wrangling that saw Kline charged at one point with possessing child pornography in federal court and child molestation in state courts.

The state case was ultimately dismissed, based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the prosecution was pressed beyond the statute of limitations.

The federal pornography case was also threatened in 2003 when Marshall ruled that the evidence of pornographic images found on his home computer had been illegally seized.

But a federal appeals court disagreed with Marshall in 2004, and the pornography charges were reinstated.

A year later, in December 2005, the ex-judge pleaded guilty and broke down in tears...

...Tuesday, he lost his freedom. He will not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 23 months. He was given until May 21 to report to federal prison.

Marshall said Tuesday that the seriousness of the porn charges demanded that Kline be punished. She ordered that Kline be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life, that he not possess any computer equipment and that he not access the Internet during three years of probation.

Kline admitted he stored more than 100 sexually explicit photos of under-age boys on his computer and on several disks found at his Irvine home in November 2001.

Police caught onto Kline after a Canadian computer whiz hacked into the judge's Irvine home computer and discovered sexually explicit images of young boys and a diary that revealed Kline's fantasies involving young boys. A subsequent search of his court computer revealed more images and more Web sites...

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