Crime

Why a Saucier man who admitted to having child porn wanted his conviction tossed

A Saucier man serving time for having child pornography has lost an appeal to challenge his conviction.

Michael Ishee, 51, had asked the Mississippi Court of Appeals to overturn a Harrison County Circuit Court decision to deny his motion for post-conviction relief. He claimed a change in the wording of the state’s law on exploitation of a child before his sentencing made his conviction unconstitutional.

Exploitation of a child is the state’s charge for the crime of having child pornography.

Judge Lisa Dodson had denied Ishee’s motion on May 20, 2016.

The appeals court affirmed her ruling with a majority opinion on Tuesday.

Ishee had been indicted on 19 counts of exploitation of a child on Dec. 5, 2011. The case involved sexually explicit images of children younger than 18 found on the hard drive of his home computer, the appeal decision shows.

Ishee accepted a plea deal and was sentenced June 20, 2014. Dodson ordered a 20-year prison term and suspended eight years, leaving 12 to serve.

Words were added to the state law in 2013 to specify that no one should “knowingly possess or knowingly access with intent to view” sexually explicit pictures of children. Previously, the law made it illegal to have child pornography regardless of how one obtained it.

On appeal, Ishee argued that the law did not specify those words when he was arrested or indicted. He claimed his conviction was unconstitutional.

In a transcript from Ishee’s guilty plea and his answers to Dodson’s questions, Ishee showed he had the intent and knowledge of wrongdoing and willfully possessed child pornography, Presiding Judge Tyree Irving wrote.

Ishee’s indictment charged him with “willfully, unlawfully and feloniously possessing child pornography,” so the fact that the previous law did not specify willful intent is irrelevant, Irving said.

Ishee’s tentative release date from prison is June 17, 2026, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections website.

Attorney General Jim Hood’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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