By Neal Putnam
A prosecutor is seeking a 10-year federal prison term for a Ramona man who pleaded guilty a year ago to receiving images on his computer of minors in explicit sexual conduct.
The lawyer for Mark Robert Kiefer Jr., 34, is asking a federal judge to exclude a pre-sentencing report he says is biased against Kiefer and makes conclusions based on wrong inferences.
The sentencing has been delayed several times but it is now set for April 19 before U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Miller in San Diego. Kiefer remains free on $50,000 bond on condition he not use any computer online service.
Kiefer entered a “conditional” guilty plea to the charge which he admits to, but it also allows him to appeal the mandatory five-year sentence that accompanies the charge. He might be allowed to remain free while appealing the sentence.
Kiefer runs his own business in which he builds and repairs off-road vehicles and is the sole source of income for his wife and children, and he also helps his parents. His attorney, Ezekiel Cortez, describes him in court papers as hard working.
Kiefer wears a global position system monitor and he attends a type of group therapy for other men who have been charged with similar offenses. He sometimes finishes his auto work in the evenings, Cortez writes.
With the conditional guilty plea, Kiefer is challenging what his lawyer wrote as “disproportionately high calculations” for his sentence as recommended in the pre-sentencing report. Cortez wants the entire report thrown out of court.
Cortez said the probation officer who wrote the report included “serious and extremely inflammatory insinuations,” which he said was the result of the writer’s “personal biases” that “substantially prejudiced her investigation and report.”
The maximum sentence is 20 years in federal prison, but federal sentencing guidelines prohibit such a sentence to someone without a record. Kiefer could also be required to register as a sex offender, but that decision is up to the judge.
Kiefer admitted to downloading images of minors engaged in sex acts after federal agents searched his home in 2010 and seized his computer as evidence. He was a member of a bulletin board service that traded child pornography. Four other counts of possession of child pornography images will be dismissed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Perry filed a sentencing chart that recommends he receive 10 years and one month in prison. She is also seeking the forfeiture of three computers and a camera to the government.
Prosecution records say agents found approximately 842 questionable images and other videos. The charge is federal because interstate commerce was used to receive those images. Kiefer was arrested June 20, 2011, by postal inspectors and U.S. marshals, and posted bond two days later.