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NH Supreme Court Reverses Child Porn Conviction of Gender Confused Man
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The top court of New Hampshire has overturned the conviction of a man sentenced to 15-years for possession of child porn. David Lantagne, 47, who claims to be confused about his gender identity, had been sentenced on three counts of attempted possession of child sexual abuse images. However, the actual story that later came to light under appeal was different from what had been initially portrayed. The NH Supreme Judicial Court overturned the guilty plea, conviction, and prison sentence of Lantagne.

In the instant case, Salem police had arrested Lantagne at Canobie Lake Park on disorderly conduct charges after the police received complaints that he was taking photographs of the backsides of young girls as they emerged from a water ride. He was arrested and taken to the Salem Police station, where after several hours of questioning, Lantagne admitted that he had some child pornography on a computer in his bedroom. A search warrant was then obtained and his computer searched.

  
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After a judge refused to throw out a plea made by Lantagne that his admission made to the police about child porn and subsequent searches of his computer were inadmissible, Lantagne agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted possession of child pornography. Subsequently, he was convicted and sentenced. However, the state supreme court disagreed with the legality of the entire flow of events.

In a unanimous decision, the justices held that taking pictures of young girls did not meet the legal standards for the crime for which Lantagne had been initially arrested. The justices said, “photographing properly attired children in an open and public portion of Canobie Lake Park” does not meet the definition of disorderly contact, and hence his initial arrest, by itself was legally void and unlawful. Evidence obtained pursuant to an unlawful arrest was therefore inadmissible and could not be used in a trial to convict a person. Lantagne walked free.

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