Powell’s attorneys seek light sentence

Staff writerJune 9, 2012 

Steven Craig Powell’s attorneys will ask a Pierce County judge to sentence their client to no more than a year in jail on his multiple voyeurism convictions, which is 90 percent less time than that sought by prosecutors.

A jury last month convicted Powell of 14 counts of voyeurism.

Defense attorneys Mark Quigley and Travis Currie argue in pleadings filed Friday their client should be sentenced under guidelines in place before June 7, 2006, which classified voyeurism as an unranked felony with a standard range of zero to 12 months in jail. Each conviction was to run concurrently (at the same time) under those guidelines.

In charging documents, prosecutors alleged Powell, 62, photographed two neighbor girls – then ages 8 and 10 – while they bathed and used the toilet during a period from June 1, 2006, to Aug. 31, 2007.

The Legislature toughened sentencing guidelines for voyeurism in 2006, but the law did not take effect until June 7 of that year.

Because prosecutors could not pinpoint when Powell photographed the girls, he should be sentenced under the guidelines in place from June 1 to June 6, 2006, Quigley and Currie argue, adding that appellate courts consistently have upheld that view.

“When evidence does not clearly prove the commission date, and the charging period encompasses a change in the penalty for commission, the defendant is entitled to be sentenced under the more lenient penalty,” they wrote in their pleading.

What’s more, the defense attorneys argued, the 10 years being sought by prosecutors is grossly out of proportion for the crimes committed. Powell did not touch the victims or break into their homes, they argued; he simply took photos of them without their knowledge. The victims did not find out they’d been photographed until five years later.

People convicted of second-degree murder qualify for a low-end sentenced of 10 years, three months, Quigley and Currie pointed out.

“Without diminishing the gravity of the convictions herein, and with all proper respect for the two minor victims and their family, 10 years in prison for the conduct proven is unreasonable, untenable and would be an abuse of discretion,” Quigley and Currie wrote.

Prosecutors contend Powell deserves 10 years in prison for repeatedly violating the girls’ privacy.

Powell’s trial last month attracted national media attention because of his connections to Susan Cox Powell, the Utah mother and former Puyallup resident who went missing in 2009 and is presumed dead.


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