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Former Oakland Fire Captain Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Child Pornography

Posted by Seth Chazin | Dec 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

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A former captain of the Oakland Fire Department entered a guilty plea to one count of child possession of child pornography - this is a violation of California Penal Code section 311.11. This occurred in Superior Court in Contra Costa County.

Richard Chew, 58, was charged in Contra Costa Superior Court on the 7th of September 2017, later plead guilty and was sentenced to 150 days in county jail, three years probation, and ordered to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290.

There are numerous defenses to a charge of possession of child pornography.  See here.

Senior Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney, Paul Graves said that Chew was initially facing two counts of Penal Code 311.11 possession of child pornography, but one of these charges was dropped in a plea deal.

The Contra Costa Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began an investigation into Chew in August, although it has not been revealed what prompted this investigation. The task force is made up of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the district attorney's office, and police departments in both Concord and Lafayette.

The police served search warrants on Chew's home in Lafayette and his office at the Oakland Fire Department. They report that they found photographs and videos depicting children engaged in sexual activity on his personal laptop and storage devices.

Oakland Fire Department placed Chew on administrative leave immediately after they became aware of the investigation.

Before these charges, Chew was considered to have been a good Captain, and had alerted his superiors on dangerous conditions. In March 2017, emails were made public that showed Chew had emailed his superiors recommending that a West Oakland halfway house on San Pablo Avenue be shut down. He responded to a call at the address, and found a nonworking alarm system, a padlocked fire escape door, and what he described as “open piles of garbage on the third floor.” On March 27 2017, a fire broke out at the address, killing four people and displacing 80 others. The fire was started by a candle.

Further Reading:

SF Gate: Former Oakland fire captain pleads guilty to child porn charges

CBS Local SF Bay Area: Former Oakland Fire Captain Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Charge

ABC 7 News: Oakland fire captain charged with possession of child pornography

Mercury News: Oakland fire captain charged with sharing more than 600 child porn images, including toddlers

LA Times: Oakland fire captain accused of possessing child pornography

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
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