After a federal appellate panel overturned his attempted lewd act on a minor conviction, a former high-ranking member of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is arguing that jurors at his new trial should not see intensely graphic internet chats he conducted with individuals he believed to be middle-school girls.
Law enforcement officials working with Perverted Justice, a private organization made famous by NBC’s To Catch a Predator series, nabbed condom-carrying CHP lieutenant Stephen Robert Deck when he arrived at an oceanfront Laguna Beach park in 2006 to rendezvous with a 13-year-old girl he’d aggressively romanced online.
The girl turned out to be a police decoy, who’d helped arrest more than a dozen Southern California men of varying backgrounds and ages seeking sexual relations with minors.
Following a jury’s guilty verdict, an Orange County Superior Court judge in 2009 sentenced Deck to a year in jail and five years’ probation, a conviction upheld as righteous by the California Court of Appeal.
But five years later a federal appellate panel determined the prosecutor used his closing argument to misstate the law pertaining to Deck’s sexual intent at the park and that move trampled the CHP officer’s due process rights.
For his new trial, Deck hired John D. Barnett, one of the region’s wiliest criminal defense attorneys who specializes in representing cops accused of corruption.
Barnett defended one of the CHP officers involved in the infamous Rodney King beating case in Los Angeles as well as one of the cops who brutally killed Kelly Thomas, an unarmed homeless man, in Fullerton.
On Sept. 21, Barnett wants Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett to hamper the prosecution’s upcoming case by blocking admittance of online chats his client had with young girls identified only as “Allison” and “Kirstin.”
He argues that the California evidence code prohibits such evidence as inadmissible hearsay.
“The chat logs by themselves are incomplete on their face and are unauthenticated and lack a proper foundation,” Barnett advised Prickett. “The chat logs do not reflect a sexual offense.”
WARNING: Extremely graphic content.
Here is a sample of communications Deck allegedly had with the two middle-school girls nearly 40 years his junior:
–“Kisses, babe. Thinking of you.”
–“Good morning, my love.”
–“I want to stay and cuddle all day.”
–“[If I get caught having sex with you,] I’ll be in prison with some huge guy named Bubba sharing my cell.”
–“You’re so beautiful and sexy.”
–“My sexy lil lover girl.”
–“You turn me on. What can I say?”
–“I get all hot as soon as we start chatting or I look at your pics.”
–“These laws [banning intercourse between adults and minors] are so screwed up.”
–“[If we meet, we’ll be] walking around [the mall], blending in with everyone else. Dad and daughter. I’d like that a lot.”
–“I love it when you call me daddy.”
–“You’re hot, very.”
–“I’d like to feel you without wearing [a condom].”
–“Mmmmm. Would love to have a baby with you. I’d love to see you pregnant and take care of you.”
–“Yes, all of my sperm inside you, deep inside you.”
Barnett claims Deck had “no intention” of engaging in sex with the girls.
Instead, he labels the chats merely evidence of a man who “derives vicarious pleasure in letting his imagination run free.”
He hopes Prickett agrees.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; and been hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.