The state’s former drug prosecutor has lost an appeal of his 189-month sentence on federal child pornography charges.

James M. Cameron, 54, formerly of Hallowell and Rome, had challenged the length of his sentence in an appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit of Appeals.

In a decision posted Monday, a three-judge panel of the court upheld the sentence, which includes two years for contempt of court when Cameron jumped bail and fled south, getting as far as New Mexico before being captured.

Cameron is serving the sentence at the Englewood Federal Correctional Institute in Littleton, Colorado, and his release date is shown as Sept. 2, 2024, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

The decision, authored by Circuit Judge Juan Torruella, says Cameron’s guideline sentence — 24 to 30 years — was calculated correctly and rejects his claims of procedural and substantive error.

“Cameron was not penalized for going to trial, he merely did not benefit from the guideline reductions that might have applied for cooperating and pleading guilty. … The district court’s thoroughness forecloses Cameron’s claims of procedural unreasonableness,” Torruella wrote. He also said, “The court’s rationale regarding the sentence generally, and Cameron’s disparity argument specifically, was certainly ‘plausible,’ and the result ‘defensible,’ which is all that our review requires.”

This is the second appeal brought by Cameron within five years. The first time, the appeals court returned some rulings in his favor, overturning six of the original 13 convictions on the basis that they violated Cameron’s constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment, which requires that in criminal proceedings, those accused of a crime have a right to cross-examine witnesses. The appeals court upheld seven of the convictions involving possession, receipt and transmission of child pornography images.

Cameron, who was out on bail and living in Rome pending a ruling in the initial appeal, cut off the electronic monitoring ankle bracelet in 2012, a day after the decision was announced and drove south, attempting to cash several checks to support himself. He was captured 18 days later, on Dec. 2, when federal marshals arrested him as he emerged from a bathroom at a store that specializes in the sale of books, movies, videos and video games.

The case began nine years ago when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit about child pornography images under a screen name traced to Cameron’s Hallowell home.

Four computers were seized, and Cameron, who was the top drug prosecutor in the Maine attorney general’s office, was fired from that job in April 2008 and indicted on 16 child pornography charges the following February.

Cameron was convicted in August 2013 of 13 charges involving possession, receipt and transmission of child pornography images following a six-day trial in federal court in Bangor. The case was heard by U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. after Cameron waived his right to a jury trial. Woodcock also imposed both sentences.

In Cameron’s original sentence in March 2011 on 13 counts involving child pornography, he was ordered to serve 192 months in prison.

On Dec. 17, 2014, Woodcock shaved 27 months off that original term, then added two years for contempt of court for Cameron’s flight from Maine, which violated his post-conviction bail conditions.

At his 2014 sentencing, Cameron said, “I’m glad I was charged, and I’m glad I was convicted. I see myself in the future as a much better person than I’ve ever been before.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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