DA Declines Prosecution in Doll Case

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Kevin Murphy

MADISON–A Middleton man arrested Feb. 12 for Possession of Child Pornography was released from custody on Feb. 14 after the Dane County District Attorney declined to prosecute the case.

Steven R. Doll, 42, was arrested by Middleton police after a search executed at a residence in the 1800 block of Park Street. Police received a tip in December from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding a Middleton resident who was possibly in possession of child pornography, according to Middleton police.

Asked why Doll wasn’t charged, District Attorney Ismael R. Ozanne said “The facts…as referred by the Middleton Police Department didn’t capture the spirit of the law.”

However, the case against Doll isn’t necessarily closed.

Three things can happened after law enforcement sends Ozanne’s office a case; it can be declined at that moment, the suspect can be charged or, the case can be sent back to police for further investigation. When the suspect is in custody, like Doll was, the district attorney has to bring charges typically within 48 hours.

The electronics seized during Doll’s search had not been completely examined, Ozanne said Friday, and if Middleton police, find some evidence of a crime after further investigation the case may be reexamined.

“I’m not certain all the electronics have been gone through. If there’s an indication that there something more, we can take a look at it,” Ozanne said.

Captain Jeremy Geiszler, of the Middleton Police Department, said Friday that the investigation is ongoing.

“It can be a time consuming process since the amount of data stored on a computer can potentially be a few terabytes,” he said.

Police took Doll into custody and he was booked into the Dane County Jail the afternoon of Feb. 12. He was released without being charged at 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 14.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children functions as an information clearinghouse and national resource to help families and law enforcement to recover missing children and prevent their exploitation, according to its website.

It also maintains the world’s largest database of images of child pornography maintained by the US Department of Justice for the purpose of identifying child pornography victims.

Law enforcement and prosecutors can submit seized images to the center to determine whether any image contains identified child victims.

The center can also tip law enforcement when it receives information of suspected sharing of child pornography on the Internet.

Geiszler said he didn’t know if the tip from the center included a name of a Middleton resident or just an Internet protocol address identifying a specific computer or phone that used the Internet.

Maximum penalties for conviction of Child Pornography Possession in Wisconsin is 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

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