Convicted pornographer alleges bias, requests hearing
June 19, 2005
A Fallon man sent to prison in July for using minors to produce pornography is now claiming a Churchill County judge is biased and has asked for a hearing on a string of allegations.
One of the allegations raised by Ronald Alex Stevenson is that he had a romantic relationship with a district court clerk, which may have influenced the sentence he received from Judge Robert E. Estes.
The clerk categorically denies any romantic or personal relationship with the defendant.
Estes sentenced Stevenson to three consecutive terms of 60-155 years each in the Nevada State Prison for three counts of using a minor to produce pornography and 12-36 months for possession of child pornography.
Documents filed in court by Stevenson request that Judge Estes remove himself from the case because he has a professional relationship with the court clerk.
During a short hearing last week, Estes ruled that a judge would be brought from outside the district to hear Stevenson’s allegations.
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“The court has reviewed the file and accusations of bias and their root causes and naturally, regardless of the veracity of any participation in this case, the court finds it should be heard by a different judge,” Judge Estes said. “The allegations of bias and knowledge go to all judges in the district.”
The Churchill County District’s Attorney’s Office opposed the request for another judge.
“The state vigorously disputes this allegation with respect to the court clerk…” Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills said in court documents. He included an affidavit from the clerk as part of his argument.
She states she first had knowledge of Stevenson in 2001 when she worked for attorney Chuck Anderson as a legal secretary.
Her only contact with the defendant, she said, was by telephone when he would call to speak to his lawyer.
The clerk began working in district court in 2003 and saw Stevenson twice – in April 2004 when he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty in court and June 2004 when he was sentenced to prison. She denies any personal or romantic relationship with him.
Stevenson, 39, also alleges his previous attorney withheld legal documents from him, that his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court wasn’t handled properly and other issues.
The Supreme Court affirmed Stevenson conviction in March and denied a new hearing.
He has now filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, alleging his constitutional rights were violated.
Stevenson took suggestive photos of two teen girls in 2001 at his Pinion Lane home. He originally faced 73 counts of child pornography after about 37,000 pornographic images were discovered on computer discs. A prosecutor said about 30 images showed children as young as 4 or 5 years old.
In a plea bargain, he admitted to four charges in exchange for dismissal of the 69 other counts.
Many of the photos confiscated by police focused on girls dressed in clothing similar to Catholic school girl uniforms. The girls were clothed in all of the photos.
Stevenson is serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center. He was a sailor with 18 years in the Navy before his arrest and conviction. A doctor who evaluated the defendant before he was sentenced recommended he not be left alone with underage females.
n Marlene Garcia can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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