Chattanooga Man Who Declared He Was "An Innocent Man" On Child Pornography Charges Gets Conviction, 24-Year Sentence Overturned

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the conviction of a Chattanooga man who claimed at his trial and sentencing that he was wrongfully convicted by a jury of possession and distribution of child pornography.

James Paul Lowe had been sentenced in May to serve 24 years in federal prison.

After the sentencing, he had bid his family goodbye and told them to "forget me." He also told his wife of 24 years, Stacy Lowe, that he was divorcing her and she should move on with her life.

Lowe told Judge Sandy Mattice "how badly I feel for these children" and said he is "innocent of all charges."

He said, "My family and I have suffered greatly for something I did not do. I am not a monster."

The appeals court, in a nine-page opinion, said there were others living at the Lowe house who could have downloaded pornographic images.

They said the circumstantial proof in the case was not convincing enough to be found guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.

The case was remanded to Federal Court in Chattanooga.

The opinion noted that Judge Mattice also expressed reservations about approving the verdict based on the testimony of four government witnesses. The defense put on no proof.

Agents said over 13,000 images of child pornography were found on Lowe's computer, counting those from 75 videos. Prosecutor Terra Bay said the hard drive had been changed out five months earlier and the period involved with child pornography may have been much longer than the five months found by the jury.

She said the images included children being "raped, sodomized, tortured and humiliated."

Ms. Bay asked for a sentence within the guideline range of 210-240 months, while attorney Chris Varner sought a five-year sentence, saying even that "would be an atom bomb" for someone with a prior spotless record.

Under terms of the sentencing, after Lowe was released, he was to have been on supervised release for 15 years and will be under a number of strict conditions. 

Click here to read the opinion.



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