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Court briefs


March 16. 2013 10:05PM
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SCRANTON – A Forty Fort man was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison on charges he attempted to produce child pornography, U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith announced.


Joshua Campbell, 29, was indicted in June by a grand jury in Kansas on charges he persuaded a girl to take sexually explicit photos of herself and transmit them to Campbell via computer.


The case was later transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania for prosecution.


The case was brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood program that combats child pornography. It was investigated by agents with the FBI in Kansas and Scranton and detectives from the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office.


WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County prosecutors have appealed a county judge's ruling that transferred two robbery charges filed against a teenager from adult court to juvenile court.


Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. ruled in November that Clarence Byrd, now 18, should be tried in juvenile court because evidence presented at a hearing showed he was amenable to treatment within the juvenile justice system.


Prosecutors recently appealed the ruling to the state Superior Court.


Byrd and a co-defendant, Tysheed Hargrove, were charged with committing two armed robberies of convenience stores in Freeland and Hazle Township.


Byrd was 16 at the time of the Hazle Township robbery, which occurred in December 2011. He had just turned 17 at the time of the Freeland robbery, which occurred in January 2012.


Byrd was charged as an adult in both cases. By law, a juvenile charged as an adult can seek to have the case transferred to juvenile court if he can show the transfer will serve the public interest.


The District Attorney's Office opposed the transfer. Sklarosky held a hearing on the matter at which numerous witnesses, including two psychiatrists, testified about Byrd's background and amenability to treatment.


In granting the transfer, Sklarosky said he was mindful of the trauma the robberies caused the victims, but said that was only one of the factors he had to consider.


Sklarosky noted Byrd had only one run-in with the law in the past, when he was charged with filing a false report. He also noted that, although a gun was used in the robberies, Byrd did not harm anyone physically.


After carefully weighing the entire record before us . . . this court concludes that the juvenile court system at this point maximizes the chances of Byrd becoming a productive adult member of society, Sklarosky said.




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