Porn Free

Why tough-talking county prosecutors freed a man facing 48 years in prison on a kiddie porn conviction

In response to Garcia's appeal, chief deputy county attorney Ahler on August 23 raised her overall evaluation for fiscal 1996 one notch, to "exceptional." But, in a memo attached to Garcia's personnel file, Ahler reiterated the office's position on Virzi.

"We have an obligation to see that justice is done in each and every case," he wrote. "Every case rests on its own set of facts. By way of comparison, one of the co-defendants in the murder of DEA agent Richard Fass recently received consecutive terms of imprisonment totaling approximately 48 years. While the charges against Virzi are quite serious, they are not as egregious as the killing of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty."

Ahler also chided Garcia for publicly bad-mouthing the decision.
"We don't expect deputies to always agree with the decisions of their supervisors," he wrote. "However, unless the decision is illegal or unethical, you have an obligation to support it. . . . Both Phoenix and Glendale Police Departments indicate that you were quite upset and vocal about the decision of your supervisors not to proceed with the 48-year sentence. This unnecessarily heightened the tension concerning the case."

Bob Hirsh says Scott Virzi is doing well in his home state of Nevada. Virzi's dreams of a life in law enforcement are gone, but he's got a decent job--no small task for a convicted felon--and a wife and family who stood by him during his ordeal.

And as for the defense attorney whose dubious legal tactics led to much of what transpired in Virzi, here's a kicker:

Before trial, prosecutors turned over copies of the evidence--the pornographic tapes and photos--to Arnold Weinstock after he said he planned to seek an expert to rebut Rauth-Farley's testimony. (He didn't find one.)

Cindi Nannetti later asked Hirsh about the contraband's whereabouts. Hirsh said Weinstock told him he'd misplaced it.

Nannetti informed Judge O'Melia, who ordered Weinstock to appear at a February 28 hearing. Weinstock avowed he had no clue of the pornography's whereabouts.

On April 3, O'Melia fined Weinstock $250 "as a result of his 'losing' the tapes." The fine was payable to a Valley domestic-abuse shelter.

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