Hot Topic: Nursing Homes for Sex Offenders & Violent Offenders

AL- Judge delays sentencing in porn case involving paralyzed man

2-13-2009 Alabama:

After a 5cm HALF-hour hearing that focused largely on a Satsuma man's paralysis, a federal judge in Mobile on Wednesday said she needs more information from prison officials before sentencing the man, who admitted to secretly videotaping young girls who used his bathroom.

Under advisory sentencing guidelines, Robert Vezendy faces at least 14 years in prison on the charge he pleaded guilty to: receipt of child pornography.

But defense lawyer Dennis Knizley contended that anything longer than the five-year statutory minimum would be a "death sentence" for a 43-year-old man who has been paralyzed since an accident that occurred when he was 17.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade heard conflicting descriptions of the capability of the federal Bureau of Prisons to accommodate Vezendy. She continued the hearing until Feb. 25 and demanded testimony or other information from government officials with firsthand knowledge of the prison system.

"I do, frankly, have some concerns about the Bureau of Prisons' ability to address the medical needs of Mr. Vezendy," she said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Vezendy last year after finding his credit card number in the computer system of a Web site that sold child pornography over the Internet.

Investigators found thousands of images on Vezendy's computers and discovered videos of four naked girls that appeared to have been photographed in the defendant's bathroom.

Vezendy later admitted that he set up a hidden camera in his bathroom and made videos of girls from his neighborhood as they showered, used his toilet and danced in front of the bathroom mirror.

Wes Anthony, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigator, testified that the girls were between the ages of 6 and 13. He said investigators found 47 videos taken of the girls from July 2005 until the end of 2007.

Gus Dimitrelos, a consultant who examined Vezendy's computer equipment, testified that he identified more than 1,000 child pornography images of children who have been identified by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

"These are real victims that have been identified over the years," he said.

Vezendy, seated in a wheelchair before the judge, apologized for downloading the child porn and making the secret videos. He said he never would have harmed the children, but offered little explanation for his conduct.

"There's really no good reason why I made them," he said. "I have a lot of regret. I was just curious."

A doctor testified that Vezendy has no movement from about the middle of his back down. She said he has limited use of his hands and arms and can perform basic tasks, such as writing and eating, only with the assistance of special splints on his arms.

Vezendy has been that way since a car hit him in New York while he was riding his bicycle to his job. He was in the hospital for two months, much of that time in a coma. He then spent seven months in a rehabilitation facility, where he defied doctors' predictions by regaining partial movement above the waist, according to testimony from his parents.

Vezendy got a job at Ciba Specialty Chemicals and moved to Mobile County when the company transferred him to the McIntosh plant in 1996. Knizley said Vezendy was a model employee, who worked his way up to a $75,000-a-year managerial position.

Susan Wardell, a mitigation and alternative sentencing specialist from Atlanta, testified that imprisoning Vezendy would be costly for the government as well as the defendant.

She said her inquiries to prison officials revealed that Vezendy would not be allowed to have his splints, which would render him virtually helpless.

Wardell said prison authorities also told her they do not have trained medical personnel who would be able to take care of him around the clock. Instead, she said, the responsibility would fall to fellow inmates.

"It's cruel and unusual punishment," she said.

A probation officer who made a call to the Bureau of Prisons on Wednesday afternoon said the system does, in fact, have medical facilities with 24-hour nursing staffs that could take care of Vezendy.

Granade said she will decide after she receives more definitive information. ..Source.. by BRENDAN KIRBY, Staff Reporter

2 comments:

robyn liburdi said...

the bop is so wrong I have a handicap son in a medical facility and he also has severe seizure disorder I'm afraid I will loose my son to the prison system he has constant grandmal and pedimal seizures that this prison system are not keeping under control because the meds that are required are not allowed in the prisons my son has seizure the can stop his heart and his breathing they can kill him if not controlled or if unattended which they have been on many occasions they also drag him out of bed after a sever seizure and he needs to sleep them off or it triggers more hello, they are going to cause his death I just know it every time I visit he looks worse than the last time I saw him, this breaks my heart they said they can help him I truly am afraid he will die...

robyn liburdi said...

My Son is in federal medical prison he is disabled w/ a severe seizure disorder which is out of control since he entered the fmc they cannot get the medicine he need to control the seizures as the bop said they could and the fmc assured me they would keep his seizures under control and now I'm afraid I will be burying my son before his time in prison is up...