Amero Granted New Trial in Online Porn Case

Q Boyer
NEW LONDON, Conn. — The substitute teacher convicted in January on four counts of risk of injury to a minor after allegedly failing to prevent a classroom of seventh graders from seeing online pornography has been granted a new trial.

In January, a jury found Julie Amero guilty on four felony counts of risking injury to a minor or impairing the morals of a child after hearing what Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein termed “erroneous” computer forensics testimony from a Norwich, Conn., police detective.

“Certainly, findings found by the state lab may contradict evidence presented by the state expert,” said Judge Strackbein. “The jury may have relied, at least in part, on that faulty information.”

Amero’s attorney, William F. Dow, filed the motion for a new trial on Tuesday, asserting that evidence gathered after Amero’s trial casts substantial doubt on her guilt.

Prosecutors did not oppose the defense motion for a new trial Wednesday, saying that after the trial the computer was sent to a state laboratory where evidence was discovered that might contradict the testimony of their computer expert.

Adult industry attorney Larry Walters told XBIZ that in cases involving the Internet and related technologies, a lack of technical knowledge on the part of the prosecution, judge or jury can be very problematic.

“We run into this a lot with Internet cases,” Walters said. “Sometimes, the prosecutor, judge or members of the jury just don’t understand the technology or terms of art involved, and that can be the difference between guilt and innocence.”

Walters said that the case also shows some indications of another occasional problem: a prosecutor who is more focused on winning than on the facts of the case.

“Unfortunately, sometimes the prosecutor’s ego gets involved in the case and they look at ways of getting a ‘win’ instead of making sure justice is done,” Walters said.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, Amero indicated that she’s now more confident that justice will be served in her case.

“I had a great team behind me, and I feel comfortable with the decision today,” Amero said.