In Wisconsin, possession of child pornography is in some ways treated more harshly that rape or attempted homicide. For example, if convicted of attempted homicide or sexual assault, there is no minimum sentence and the judge could theoretically issue a fine, or probation. A conviction of child porn, however, includes a mandatory minimum of three years. There is a loophole, however. If convicted of multiple counts of child porn, the judge could order the sentences to run concurrently, meaning at the same time. That means someone who pleads guilty to ten counts, like Willie Ambros, could get anywhere from 3 years to 250 years in prison.
Child pornography is treated much more sensitively in the criminal justice system. All defendants that are charged with crimes have a right to discovery, which is the evidence that will be used against them in trial. There are some limitations. For example, police and prosecutors won’t turn over drugs or weapons to the defense team. Those items can be illegal to simply possess. For child pornography cases, defense lawyers can examine the images and videos, but only under the supervision and control of law enforcement. Images of child pornography are never distributed to anyone. If a case goes to trial, the judge and jury will look at the photos.
Kenosha resident Willie Ambrose went to trial in front of Judge Bruce Schroeder on Monday 1/31/2022. At some point between the first day and second day of trial, more information came to light. On the second day of Ambrose’s trial, the defense attorney and prosecutor told Judge Schroeder that there were more images of child pornography found in the defendant’s phone. The day before, Kenosha Assistant District Attorney Alex Huber was careless with some of the newly found images of child pornography. He sent them to Ambrose’s defense attorney via email. It appears that the defense attorney in this case, Brett Copeland notified the DA’s office right away about this serious violation. The DA’s office then agreed to not file any new charges and Ambrose pleaded guilty to the ten counts. The jury was dismissed after being told the defendant pleaded guilty. Ambrose will be sentenced on April 4, 2022.
We asked Kenosha DA Michael Graveley about this incident and he told us that ADA Huber won’t face any discipline saying, “No discipline is warranted from my perspective as this was clearly a mistake……and defense counsel deleted the email to ensure no further distribution.” Graveley also told KCE that “we will discuss this matter as an office to ensure that we meet our discovery obligations while still ensuring privacy for victims.”
Assistant DA Alex Huber graduated from The University of Wisconsin Law School in 2018 and was admitted into the bar on 1/15/2019. He is entering his fourth year as an attorney. He has been with the Kenosha DA’s office for about 5 months.