A Taylor Township man accused of possessing and distributing child pornography had his bail modified slightly Friday.
Adam Hinton, 25, is jailed on more than 6,600 counts of child pornography possession and dissemination charges. In court, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Hinton possessed about 11,000 images including violent assaults on very young children and animals.
He was arrested in June in the parking lot of Radio Park Elementary School, where he worked at the time.
In a hearing, public defender Richard Settgast argued to have bail, set at $100,000, changed to unsecured and have him released into the custody of his parents. He said that, although the images were violent, the crimes he was charged with — also including three felony counts of criminal use of a communications facility and 4,778 misdemeanor counts of displaying obscene material — were not.
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Parks Miller called that a falsehood, saying the images were among the most disturbing she had seen in her career.
“They are not only violent, they are sadistic,” she told Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler. “I’m not sure his bail is high enough.”
Kistler split the difference, giving Hinton the opportunity to post bail by keeping the total amount at $100,000 but allowing him to post just $25,000 to leave the Centre County Correctional Facility.
Parks Miller said afterward that she was not happy with the decision.
“He should absolutely remain incarcerated,” she said.
Settgast also argued against the way bail modifications are being handled in Centre County.
He told Kistler that a recent change to make only the district judge who has set bail be permitted to change bail creates an unfair burden on defendants, who are supposed to be presumed innocent.
In Pennsylvania, a defendant is arraigned, and may be incarcerated at that time. A preliminary hearing should occur within 14 days, and bail modification could then be argued in front of any common pleas judge. But if the case is continued for some reason — if a witness cannot appear at a preliminary hearing, for example — a defendant might have to wait longer to see that higher judge.
Settgast said that asking defendants to only return to their original district judge for bail modification before that time is an unnecessary burden because Centre County district judges rotate through appearing in Bellefonte.
Parks Miller said she was just asking defendants to follow the law and that obtaining a bail hearing did not have to be that complicated.
“They can call at any time,” she said, claiming bail hearings could even be done through a phone conference with the attorneys.
Settgast replied that defendants who are coming to his office for representation frequently do not have an attorney until they arrive at a preliminary hearing.
Kistler did not render a decision Friday.