Wade Hoover loses appeal in child porn case

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PORTLAND — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday unanimously rejected a double jeopardy argument in the appeal of a man sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for the production and possession of child pornography, who is facing rape charges in state court.

Wade Robert Hoover, 37, of Augusta had sought to dismiss indictments in Kennebec and Somerset counties on the rape charges.

“Double jeopardy principles do not bar the present state prosecution, regardless of any potential for duplicative punishment,” Justice Joseph Jabar wrote for the state’s high court. “Even if the state’s current prosecution subjects Hoover to the risk of being punished twice for the same conduct, such duplicative punishment is constitutional when, as is the case here, the punishments are imposed by separate sovereigns.”

His attorney for the appeal, Jamesa Drake of Auburn, in June argued to the state’s high court that the indictments in state court violated his constitutional protections against double jeopardy because state and federal prosecutors “colluded” in how Hoover originally was charged. Drake said Hoover was held for two months on less serious state charges than gross sexual assault, a Class A crime, before he was indicted by two separate grand juries. Once he was charged in federal court, the lesser state charges were dismissed.

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Justices found that contrary to Drake’s arguments, “there is no evidence of a ‘sham’ prosecution here, nor is there any evidence that the state prosecutors acted merely as ‘tools’ of the federal prosecutors,” Jabar wrote in the 10-page decision.

Hoover pleaded guilty to the federal charges in February 2013, when he admitted he sexually assaulted two boys under the age of 12 who took karate lessons from him at his Lewiston studio and recorded the assaults.

He did not share the images on the Internet, according to court documents.

Hoover was indicted on the state charges after entering his guilty pleas in U.S. District Court.

Maeghan Maloney, district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, praised the decision.

“The decision is important as it recognizes the efficiencies created by law enforcement agencies working together — this is exactly what we want law enforcement to do,” Maloney said Tuesday in an email. “The law court made it clear today that when law enforcement jointly investigates a case both the federal government and the state government can pursue violations of their laws. Any other decision would have produced a race to indictment which would not be in the public interest.”

Efforts to reach Drake were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Hoover has been held without bail at the Kennebec County Jail awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

Now that the court has issued its ruling, trials on the state charges are expected to be set, according to Maloney.

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