The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 14, 2012

Update: Hoffner attorney wants access to evidence

(Continued)

MANKATO —

In response to Fleming’s request for video copies, Hanson said state and federal laws, including the federal Adam Walsh Act, make it illegal to reproduce child pornography. Both sides cited challenges to the act, which also requires prosecutors to make the evidence “reasonably available” to defense attorneys.

Hanson said allowing Fleming to view the videos at the Sheriff’s Department was enough to make the videos reasonably available. Fleming said having a law enforcement officer in the room with him while he’s attempting to prepare a case for his client isn’t reasonable.

There have been other child pornography cases in Blue Earth County where defense attorneys have received copies of evidence along with a protective order issued by a District Court Judge. Jass asked Hanson specifically about exceptions that have been allowed with protective orders. Then she said she will consider the arguments made by both sides before issuing a written order.

“There have been protective orders before in this county,” Fleming said after Friday’s hearing. “He (Hanson) is just doing this because he can.”

After Hoffner was arrested, his wife, Melodee, made a public statement about the case at the Maschka, Riedy and Ries office where Fleming is employed. During the statement, she and Gerald Maschka, who also attended Friday’s hearing with Todd Hoffner, said the videos were depicting innocent family moments and were not child pornography.

Maschka said then that they were, “normal and typical family videos showing her children having fun and acting silly.”

An affidavit, filed earlier this month, requesting a search warrant for a university computer suggests the most graphic video wasn’t of children acting spontaneously. The computer, which was turned over to investigators Sept. 5, was used to download files and other information from Hoffner’s phone before the videos were found.

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