Trinity Mount Ministries

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Judge again delays sentencing for former CHP sergeant found guilty of child porn charges

By Richard Bammer

For the third time in as many scheduled hearings, a Solano County Superior Court judge, saying he wanted a second, “supplemental” psychologist’s report, delayed sentencing for a former California Highway Patrol officer found guilty in late October of downloading and possessing kiddie porn in 2014 while on and off duty.

Daniel Healy ordered Eric Curtis Lund, 54, who was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in Department 2, instead will return at 8:30 a.m. May 1, to the same department, in the Justice Building in Vallejo.

The judge said he wanted Kathleen O’Meara, a forensic psychologist who interviewed Lund before the hearing, to submit a follow-up report before the May court appearance, adding, “There’s value in making amends to the family,” an apparent reference to Lund’s wife and three children.

Deputy District Attorney Ilana Shapiro, who prosecuted the original case and the retrial, was clearly frustrated after the hearing, saying the postponement was “a waste of time and resources” and questioned if Lund will ever admit that he possessed and downloaded child pornography while on duty during the summer and early fall months of 2014.

During the morning’s proceedings, Lund’s attorney, Colin Cooper of Berkeley — with Lund, bearded and haggard-looking in a striped jail jumpsuit, at his side — asked the judge to “recognize a human being in all of his or her imperfections.”

Cooper said he believed that “people can redeem themselves,” noting that Lund’s life has been wrecked by the guilty verdict, requiring him to register as a sex offender for life and the losing of his licenses to practice law and real estate.

The attorney also noted that his client faithfully came to court on time when required during the past four years and, while in prison, if not granted probation, will be in solitary confinement because he’s a former CHP officer and also in protective custody because he’s considered a child molester.

Toward the end of his remarks, Cooper told Healy that his client “will make it no matter what you do.”

Lund then read a prepared statement, and a woman who appeared to be his wife began to weep softly while seated in the public gallery.

Afterward, Healy, who conveyed the impression several times that he was about to impose a sentence, said he “was not a fan of a prison sentence,” calling it a “blunt instrument.”

“I do believe in redemption,” he said, but then added, looking at Lund, that the former CHP officer was “in denial” about the crime for which he was convicted.

Whatever Healy’s eventual sentence may be — Lund faces as much as five years in state prison — it will be the result of “the decision you made,” not the jury’s verdict, the judge said.

“In the final analysis, you were looking at child pornography,” said Healy, who repeated that he believed Lund was “in denial — that’s not going to work.”

“I do not understand what it takes to watch these images,” the judge said, referring to the sexually explicit video clips shown during the trial, calling them “soul-crushing.”

In something of a condemnation of nearly two dozen people who wrote letters in support of Lund, the judge said they “all share in the denial … His support doesn’t help the path forward.”

Healy said Lund’s actions feel “like a bigger betrayal” because he was in law enforcement, then cited five “aggravating factors.” They included “abusive” and “sadistic” images; the sheer number of them, in the thousands; their redistribution online; his violation of the community’s trust; and the “lack of candor” during his testimony.

“The aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors,” said the judge, who did not signal what Lund’s eventual sentence would be, pending the supplemental psychologist’s report.

“The prison solution and the probation solution is a farce,” said Healy.

Lund, a retired 26-year veteran of the CHP, worked out of the agency’s Fairfield office when he was arrested on Oct. 16, 2014, and later posted bail.

Longtime Vacaville Police Detective Jeff Datzman, a digital crimes expert, was a key witness in the case.

The jury found Lund guilty of possessing and controlling child pornography depicting children under 18 years of age, more than 600 images’ worth, and knew it depicted children under 18; and secondly, possession and control of child pornography, commonly called “kiddie porn.”

Shapiro, in an hourlong closing argument during the second trial, said Lund’s victims were “thousands of children” and the “residents of Solano County” while he was on duty and was “supposed to be protecting us.”

Datzman’s investigation centered around a search for a person who was going online and downloading child pornography images and videos, some 14,000 of them as it turned out, while at various locations with WiFi capability throughout Solano County. It was evidence collected from Lund’s personal vehicle, where investigators found a laptop, several flash drives and other electronic equipment.

The detective’s forensics indicated Lund was connected at various times during his graveyard shifts to WiFi-enabled locations, from the Yogurt Beach Shack in Vacaville to a Cordelia Park neighborhood, from June 13 to Oct. 16, 2014. While at the CHP office in Fairfield, investigators also found evidence from Lund’s work desk and his work locker.

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