Criminal Justice

Porn Star Saves Man From Incompetent Prosecutor, Dubious "Experts"

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The Crime and Federalism blog reports on the case of Carlos Alfredo Simon-Timmerman, a New Yorker who was stopped in Puerto Rico last year on his way back from a vacation in Venezuela. Simon-Timmerman was stopped by U.S. Customs agents, who found a pornographic video in his bag entitled Little Lupe the Innocent; Don't Be Fooled By Her Baby Face. The movie featured Lupe Fuentes, a porn actress who, as the movie title suggests, is  a 23-year-old with a more youthful appearance.

Fuentes is currently under contract with a U.S. porn production company, and has made movies for other U.S. companies in the past. Those companies are required by federal law to keep records showing that all participants in their adult films are of legal age.  That means Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega could have verified Fuentes' age with as little effort as a Google search and a phone call. (Hell, she probably could have just consulted one of the porn experts at the Securities and Exchange Commission.)

Instead, the prosecutor pushed ahead with child pornography charges against Simon-Timmerman, even after the man's attorney was able to show that Fuentes had appeared in movies produced in the U.S., as well as other documentation that Fuentes was of legal age at the time the movie was made.

Hernandez-Vega still didn't buy it. Her evidence that Fuentes was a minor was apparently so strong that she not only apparently felt she didn't need to take 15 minutes to look up the proof of Fuentes' age on file with the federal government, she could also dismiss the evidence produced by Simon-Timmerman's attorney that his client hadn't broken any law—all while keeping Simon-Timmerman locked up for months.

And what was that evidence? "Expert" testimony. At trial, Hernandez-Vega called Alek Pacheco, A U.S. Customs agent and self-described expert in child pornography who concluded (presumably after viewing the video several times) that Fuentes was "13 or 14" years of age.

The state also called a Dr. Pedro R. Jaunarena who, according to court documents (PDF) filed by Hernandez-Vega…

…will explain from viewing the images in question the bodily features he considers in making his determination, such as the face of the minor, the breast area, the genital area to include the existence or non-existence of pubic hair, the height of the minor, among other factors to be considered to establish the approximate age range of the minor depicted and to establish that the relevant images depict minors under the age of eighteen.

Simon-Timmerman's attorney was even able to get Fuentes to confirm her age over the phone. That still wasn't enough for the prosecutor.

Finally…

Little Lupe herself would have to fly to Puerto Rico, show her passport to the prosecutor, and testify under oath that she was really, really not 13 years old.

"My fans mean everything to me, " Fuentes told Asylum via her publicist. "It was important to me to make the trip to Puerto Rico to show support to someone who did no wrong."

That was last month. After Fuentes' appearance, Simon-Timmerman was finally released, and the charges against him were dropped. It took the graciousness of a porn star to keep Simon-Timmerman from going to prison.

If this case follows other clear-cut prosecutorial abuse cases, Hernandez-Vega will suffer little if any penalty for her stunning incompetence, which caused the arrest and months-long incarceration of an innocent man. And Jaunarena and Pacheco will continue testifying as experts in federal courtrooms, despite the fact that their expertise in this case was off by by about five years.

(Thanks to Jonathan Pratt for the tip.)

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  1. Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega should be fired, disbarred, and donkey-punched.

    1. Not necessarily in that order.

    2. I disagree. Hernandez-Vega should be fired, her entire team should be fired, Alek Pacheko and all of the management above him should be fired, and the U.S. Customs department should cease operations immediately and be temporarily taken over by an interim leadership team who will, during the department hiatus, completely revamp the entire agency from top to bottom.

      1. No, the entire prosecution team should be serving the sentence for the crimes they tried to convict this man on, no possibility of parole.

  2. Experts. Right.

    1. …arrest and months-long incarceration of an innocent man.

      Well, I wouldn’t say innocent, exactly: blameless, maybe; non-criminal, certainly; but not innocent.

      As an old lawyers’ joke about a certain middle-aged madam who happened to be in court over a traffic violation puts it:

      Judge: Are you innocent?

      Madam: Well no, your honor, of course not. Are you?

  3. Alek Pacheco, A U.S. Customs agent and self-described expert in child pornography

    *barf*

    1. “”A U.S. Customs agent and self-described expert in child pornography””

      If you have expert knowledge of child pornography, you should probably be in prison.

      1. To be fair, this is probably one of the worst jobs to have, and somebody should probably be doing it.

        1. What, breaking in prison bitches?

  4. :holding crotch, bent over slightly:

    (spoken in a wheezing, pained voice) “Thanks Radley. Keep up the good work.”

    :gingerly hobbles away:

  5. I can’t believe anyone buys the “I can tell her age by looking” experts. OMG that is snake oil. They might as well throw they guy in water and see if he floats.

    1. Excellent analogy. It’s hokum with a degree.

    2. Come on, you know she wasn’t actually buying it. She was willing to look away from the lies to show she’s tough on child porn.

      “”They might as well throw they guy in water and see if he floats.””

      If they thought they could get away with it, they would.

      1. They could waterboard him instead. That detects witches too, right?

    3. Here’s how I would determine whether or not a field of expert knowledge should be recognized in court. Is your main source of employment large research universities? If yes, you might be qualified to testify at trial. Is your main source of employment county fairs? If yes, stay the hell away from the courthouse.

      1. Is your main source of employment plaintiffs’ lawyers and government prosecutors. If the answer is yes, then stay the hell off the stand.

      2. NO NO NO… a thousand times NO!

        Forensic document examination for example: Would someone with a faculty position in a forensic science program be as good (much less better) as a successful, experienced autograph and manuscript dealer?

        The guy running the “Guess Your Weight” concession at the county fair is likely more accurate than an academic expert in body mass for that matter.

        1. Good point. But, you should have to make a living doing something besides testifying in court. If you are a no kidding manuscript dealer who makes a living doing such, fine. But if you are a “manuscript expert” who makes a living telling lawyers what the want to hear and testifying to it in court, no way.

        2. Well that’s because forensics isn’t science, so I wouldn’t trust a faculty member in forensic science. However, I would trust a history professor with forensic document examination.

    4. Sure isn’t a valid defense if you guess over and she’s under.

  6. Wonder if Fuentes will give the prosecuter a cut of all of the money she’ll make after all of this free advertising? I’m guessing no, but at least thanks are in order.

  7. (Hell, she probably could have just consulted one of the porn experts at the Securities and Exchange Commission.)

    If you can win your own thread, Radley just did.

  8. You guys might want to think about this one a little before engaging in the standars knee-jerk anti-government reactions.

    1. Stop spoofing me.

    2. Why?
      Other than ir looks like it needs an EXTRA-SPECIAL knee-jerk?

    3. “”You guys might want to think about this one a little before engaging in the standars knee-jerk anti-government reactions.””

      Why? Is there a greater expectation of accuracy on us than a Customs Inspector?

  9. If porn stars were unionized, the problem wouldn’t have happened.

    1. Yeah, because Lopez wouldn’t have made a porn until she got seniority.

  10. He’s still a perv.

  11. the existence or non-existence of pubic hair

    Ummm, that hasn’t been a reliable indicator of age in porn for decades now….

  12. So how do you become an expert in child porn?

    1. The same way you become a bite mark expert or a minister. Just declare yourself one.

      1. I smoked that devil’s weed once and I turned into a bat!

        – The Official Government Expert on Marihuana, circa 1937.

        1. “I got better.” – Monty Python

  13. Google video searches of Lupe Fuentes spike unexpectedly.

    1. I took your suggestion to heart and asked Bing what she looks like. Apparently she does not do “looks young” work any more. She’s had implants and is reasonably hot. I did notice a couple of shots of her from her prior work – firewalled so only tame shots. She really did look no more than 13 in her early career, judging by the photos. So at least there was some reasonable assumption as to the nature of the video early in the investigation.

      Still, the prosecutor knows full well that she must reach the burden of ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt’ at trial. When presented evidence that reaches a standard of ‘innocent beyond a reasonable doubt’ there really is a moral and legal obligation to drop the proceeding at that moment. And as Radley said, I was able to verify her birth date within less than 1 minute of an internet search – and that’s without attaching anything at all to her name, just an image search. This really goes well beyond behavior that should be protected by sovereign immunity. This was criminal kidnapping and wrongful imprisonment from the moment they were provided with credible documentation of her age. It was incompetent and negligent from the moment they failed to perform a perfunctory internet search to find the production company and verify the information.

  14. Of course if manga can be prosecuted as kiddie porn, why not ‘kiddie porn’ that’s made with adults who look like kids? I mean, if a character who looked exactly like Lupe Fuentes was created using CGI, wouldn’t that be prosecutable by the logic (and I use that term loosely) of the manga case?

    1. Continuing that line of logic, having sex with Ms. Fuentes now qualifies as statutory rape.

    2. Sorta like *not* engaging in interstate trade can be prosecuted, since it could be interstate trade if it was engaged in?

    3. Are you crazy? The only [people who should get roles in child porn are children. It’s not right that an adult get the role. They lack the natural ability to pull it off and it’s just not fair to child porn actors.

    4. Boku Wa Lolicon.

  15. I’d bet that the USA knew the actress was of age the whole time. She figured they could pressure this perv into copping a plea anyway. Surprisingly, the bluff was called. But when you consider the prosecutors’ incentives/disincentives, she’d do it over in a heartbeat. They get slapped on the back for being zealous, not for being equitable. Besides, the lady’s friends love her for hounding a sicko, despite minor legal technicalities.

  16. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was that an all female prosecutor’s office? If not, this should have been the exchange:

    DFP (dickhead female prosecutor): Can you imagine the nerve of that guy claiming someone called Little Lupe isn’t an underaged porn victim?

    Male colleague: Ummm, Little Lupe? She’s an adult.

    DFP: How do you know?

    MC: Do you even know how to turn on that computer on your desk?

    1. “”MC: Do you even know how to turn on that computer on your desk?””

      Too much white out on the screen from correcting those typos.

  17. Porn star prevents fan from getting screwed?

    Go figure.

    1. Well, if too many porn fans get screwed, then there is less demand for porn stars.

  18. Porn Star Saves Man From Incompetent Prosecutor, Dubious “Experts”

    And people say there are no more heroes.

    1. Hero or not, she was much cuter before the fake boobs.

      1. Occupational hazard

  19. You guys are too much. You’re actually blaming the government for making sure that a pornographic actress is not a child?

    1. No stupid, the article is damning the prosecutor for her inability to do basic research to determine if her charges had any foundation, which they didn’t. During her failure, an innocent mans reputation was slandered, and he was faced with a trial for doing nothing illegal.

      Would you read the fucking article for a change? Christ.

    2. Nope, we’re blaming government agents for aggressively refusing to determine the woman’s actual, really-real-world age.

    3. IGNORE THE TROLL

      1. Tomorrow is Ignore-A-Troll Tuesday!
        Just a reminder.

      2. dbcooper shows wisdom.

    4. The government didn’t make sure of anything. The defendant had to prove the “actress” was legal. Sounds like guilty until proven innocent to me.

  20. I posted this last week. I DEMAND RECOGNITON

    Failing that, I demand Dan T. be castrated and impaled.

    1. With the castrated member? Or just the typical razor wire wrapped pipe?

      1. I figured we could tie him down on some bamboo shoots so they grow through him. But we can stuff his member into one of his ears, if you like.

  21. It’s really awesome that Lupe was willing to make a trip to Puerto Rico just for this case, though!

    But yeah, that prosecutor is a piece of shit. And not the kind you flush discreetly down a toilet, either. The kind you put in a flaming bag on someone’s porch.

    1. But if she was a turd in a bag, could she still own a home with a porch? If that bag was set on fire on her own porch, would the universe implode?

      1. funniest shit ive read in weeks.
        seriously.

  22. If I was Mr. Not-A-Child-Molester, I would do two things:

    (1) File a complaint against the prosecutor with her state bar. Even if she keeps her license, having a complaint on her record won’t help her career, either in or out of government.

    (2) File a civil rights case. If Carlos isn’t Caucasian, you could add on a racial discrimination complaint.

  23. On the plus side, I think we’ve finally discovered the identity of the until-now-anonymous woman who penned THIS op-ed.

  24. the bodily features he considers in making his determination, such as the face of the minor, the breast area, the genital area to include the existence or non-existence of pubic hair

    Non-existence of pubic hair?? Has this dude looked at any porn at all in the last 15 years?

    1. In his defense, if he only watches kiddie porn how would he have any idea what adult porn stars look like?

      1. What’s the odds that he sees an under age girl when looking at his wife?

        1. That is an exceptionally creepy statement with barrels of ringing truth behind it.

  25. Little Lupe herself would have to fly to Puerto Rico, show her passport to the prosecutor, and testify under oath that she was really, really not 13 years old.

    Causing Roman Polanski to throw out his entire collection.

  26. I hope she gave the defendant a lap dance on the witness stand.

  27. That chick looks more like 25 than 13.

  28. Oh, he’s not innocent. He watches porn and not just porn, but porn in which the porn actress looks younger than she is!!! The whole time he was pretending she was underage – which is most certainly a thought crime by any standard. And we need to be cracking down on thought crime. He just got off on a technicality!!!

    1. You’re kidding……………aren’t you?

      1. the thoughtcrime part didn’t make it obvious?

        1. wylie,
          There was a day when ‘thoughtcrime’ would have been a sign of a joke. Lately, it’s not that easy.

        2. Wylie, you spoke Feminist fluently and without an accent. It’s uncanny.

  29. What was the point of those federal regs, which were supposed to prevent child porn by registering all the porn subjects, if the gov’t itself doesn’t use the registrations?

    1. Folks we have a thread winner! Good job.

    2. registration fees?

  30. “expert in child pornography”
    Is that actually a title anyone would want to have? And do you really need an “expert”? It’s usually not all that difficult to tell the difference between a 13-year-old and a 23-year-old.

    1. especially when there’s supporting documentation.

  31. It’s usually not all that difficult to tell the difference between a 13-year-old and a 23-year-old.

    Ha!

  32. My ex-shrew Kyla used to have a sign above her desk, informing visitors that she was not 16 — “just ask my 5 kids” — because she was small and pretty much flat, even after 5 kids, and her crooked teeth made her look adolescent until the white hairs started coming in.

    Just for the record, I didn’t marry her for her body.

    In fact, she was so twisted by her lack of bosom (especially compared to her more rounded twin sister) that she had a set of D-cup foam boobs made for her by a Hollywood costume maker, and wore them to shows and conventions (she was an artist).

    If the “Tanner Scale” is now to be use to decide who gets arrested for kiddie porn, I’m glad I haven’t got any pictures of her.

  33. The silver lining to the story is that Hernandez-Vega didn’t arrest Little Lupe for making the video.

    “Government experts are never wrong. Obviously that’s a fake passport.”

  34. Jenifer Yois Hernandez-Vega = retarded cunt.

    She is real lucky it wasn’t someone like me; she wouldn’t have the opportunity to worry about being fired.

  35. one four letter word could’ve fixed all this: IMDB

  36. Wise Latina…

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