Judge Who Clipped Child Rapist's Sentence Once Went Easy On 'Predator' Cop
Yesterday, we reported on Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly, who clipped 15 years off a convicted child rapist's sentence because he didn't feel that the man truly mean to hurt the toddler he sodomized. A little poking around reveals this isn't the first time this same judge has given a light sentence to a man convicted of a sex crime against children.Kevin Rojano, 20, sodomized his three-year-old female relative when he wandered into the garage where he was playing video games. The minimum sentence for such a crime is 25 years to life. Kelly decided to shave off 15 years, saying that he didn't feel like Rojano meant to hurt the child. Kelly's decision has sparked outrage. There's a Facebook group calling for his recall and a petition on Change.org calling for an apology from Kelly and an appeal that's garnered over 2,000 signatures.
Just years before Kelly went easy on a man caught in a sting. On February 18, 2006, 51-year-old Stephen Robert Deck was arrested as part of a sting operation conducted by Perverted-Justice.com, who you may better know as the organization that's worked with Dateline NBC on To Catch a Predator. When Deck was arrested, he was looking for a fictitious 13-year-old girl named "Amy" at a Laguna Beach park he'd been chatting with online. Deck, unlike the dozen other men caught in the same sting, was a CHP officer of 23 years. Deck retired from the force after his arrest.
Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman said that Deck had a fetish for young girls, the OC Register reports. After chatting for a few days with "Amy" online, Deck arranged to meet her at a park after the girl revealed her mother wasn't around. He drove 45 miles to meet the fake 13-year-old. He brought with him a camera, several condoms and a piece of key lime pie.
When Deck was sentenced on March 19, 2010, he was remorseful, the Daily Breeze reports. Prosecutors were pushing for the maximum sentence of four years in prison, but Judge Kelly decided on only a year in jail. Deck's other punishments included a class on sex addiction, 5 years of probation, a $200 fine, and registering for life as a sex offender, according to the OC Weekly. You can see Deck on the sex offender registry here.
You can see some of Deck's chat log with "Amy" on Perverted Justice's website. Here, they call Deck one of the "most polished 'groomers' we've seen." Groomers, of course, does not apply to his hygiene in this instance, but the way he prepares his victim.
Early on, he acknowledges that he checked out her Myspace profile and knows she's 13 years old. He says he doesn't think her mom would like it if he dated her, but maybe they could work something out. Maybe they could get ice cream together. He tells her she's "hot," "sexy," and that he wishes he were her father or uncle. He told her he wanted to hold, kiss and caress her. They talked about desserts, particularly ice cream and pie, and he told her he'd like to eat ice cream off her body and that "I think you have all the pie I want to eat!" He asked her if she liked "sucking cock."
He tells her it would be "romantic" if he could do her makeup.
south_calif_46m (9:20:59 PM): I just think it would be cool and kind of romantic and intimate
ima_beangirl2 (9:21:08 PM): we can if u wanta
south_calif_46m (9:21:12 PM): ok!
south_calif_46m (9:21:34 PM): Deal
ima_beangirl2 (9:21:43 PM): kewl
ima_beangirl2 (9:22:00 PM): i luv romance
south_calif_46m (9:22:04 PM): Oh good!
south_calif_46m (9:22:09 PM): Me too
ima_beangirl2 (9:22:11 PM): candles
ima_beangirl2 (9:22:13 PM): music
south_calif_46m (9:22:16 PM): mmmmm yesssss
ima_beangirl2 (9:22:16 PM): kisses
south_calif_46m (9:22:26 PM): Scented candles and nice music
south_calif_46m (9:22:33 PM): kisses and cuddling
ima_beangirl2 (9:22:40 PM): :x
south_calif_46m (9:22:46 PM): holding each other
south_calif_46m (9:22:55 PM): passionate kisses
south_calif_46m (9:23:05 PM): touching and caressing one another
south_calif_46m (9:23:10 PM): mmmmmm
ima_beangirl2 (9:23:13 PM): yum
south_calif_46m (9:23:43 PM): sounds wonderful and delicious with you
ima_beangirl2 (9:23:49 PM): yea
south_calif_46m (9:23:55 PM): definitely
ima_beangirl2 (9:24:02 PM): >:D<
south_calif_46m (9:24:23 PM): I would to hold you and kiss you
south_calif_46m (9:24:33 PM): Would love to hold you and kiss you
south_calif_46m (9:24:47 PM): sooo sweet
ima_beangirl2 (9:24:59 PM): me 2 with u
south_calif_46m (9:25:06 PM): awesome
ima_beangirl2 (9:25:27 PM): ur gona b my bf!!!1
ima_beangirl2 (9:25:28 PM): lol
south_calif_46m (9:25:35 PM): I hope!
ima_beangirl2 (9:25:43 PM): thats what bf n gf do
south_calif_46m (9:25:50 PM): mmm yessss
south_calif_46m (9:26:10 PM): all that and more, sometimes
ima_beangirl2 (9:26:17 PM): kewl
south_calif_46m (9:26:53 PM): and we have all too
south_calif_46m (9:26:56 PM): Nice!
south_calif_46m (9:26:59 PM): all day
ima_beangirl2 (9:27:11 PM): we dont hafta go ne where
ima_beangirl2 (9:27:12 PM): lol
south_calif_46m (9:27:18 PM): yess
south_calif_46m (9:27:40 PM): your room would be fine!
ima_beangirl2 (9:27:45 PM): kewl
ima_beangirl2 (9:28:14 PM): u bring the pie!!!11
ima_beangirl2 (9:28:15 PM): lol
south_calif_46m (9:28:20 PM): hehehe
south_calif_46m (9:28:41 PM): I think you have all the pie I want to eat! lol
Perverted-Justice analyzes Deck's chat logs here, calling him a cold and calculating predator.
"Stephen Deck is the worst type of predator, calculating and intelligent, he spends days prepping our decoy for his meet and affection."
In the chat, Deck also demonstrates a clear fear of getting caught, both by the girl's mother and anyone else. On the day he leaves to meet her in real life, he claims he's just bringing her a slice of pie. "No kissing or nothing." This was important to Deck's defense.
"Amy," however, was not the only girl Deck spoke to via the Internet. Law enforcement records showed that he routinely sought out underage chatting partners. He told a 13-year-old girl in Costa Mesa he wanted to get her pregnant, OC Weekly reports. He told a 13-year-old in the Pacific Northwest that he was hoping for sex with not just her, but also her 10-year-old sister, too. He was a member of an online club called 'Daddies & Daughters.'
Kelly expressed no doubt that had Amy been real, Deck would have tried to have sex with her. "That scares me," Kelly said. Kelly did, however, consider Deck's 23 years in law enforcement as a positive. "You've served your country, you've been a productive citizen in all aspects of your life and that has to count for something," he said.
For most people, that means he should have known better than anyone else. A man who is trusted with public safety should be the least likely person to prey on children for his own sexual desires. Astonishingly, for Kelly, it meant he should get some kind of special treatment.
"Only time will tell if the court has made the right decision," Kelly said. "If you violate the terms of your probation and prove me wrong, you are going to state prison. Good luck to you, sir."
As far as anyone knows, Deck has not re-offended. He appealed his case in 2011, claiming that there wasn't enough evidence to indicate that he ever intended to do anything lewd with "Amy." He also argued that Mestman had confused and misled the jury in his closing arguments by telling them he didn't have to prove that Deck was going to assault Amy that day, just that he intended to in the future. Deck lost that appeal.
However, in October of 2014, a federal appeals court overturned Deck's conviction, according to the OC Register. Sure, he brought condoms. Sure, he asked her if she liked to perform oral sex and told her he wanted to hug, kiss and caress her. However, he also told her he was just bringing her a slice of pie.
Two judges on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel felt Mestman did mislead the jury in his closing statements about Deck's intentions that day versus in the future. Also, when the jury asked for clarification, they received no response. The third judge, Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., disagreed with the other two judges. He wrote that there was no evidence to support that the jury was swayed in any way by Mestman's statements.
Prosecutors in Deck's case do have the option of pursuing a new trial.