WILLIAMSPORT - A federal appeals court has affirmed the 2010 conviction and 20-year prison sentence of a former foster parent who had lived in Salladasburg and Jersey Shore.
The 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals Thursday rejected the ineffective counsel argument of Faith Brooks.
The opinion noted that her lawyer, Stephen C. Smith, had cross-examined at least six prosecution witnesses and had extensive discussions before it was decided Brooks would not testify.
Brooks was convicted of production and possession of child pornography. The charges stemmed from an investigation initiated in 2008 after a man called Childline after seeing via a webcam a 9-year-old girl exposing herself and playing with a sex toy.
The man later was identified and testified for the prosecution at the trial as did a Lycoming County Children and Youth caseworker who related what the girl told her Brooks had done..
Brooks served as a foster parent between 1997 and 2003 and had 78 placements involving 54 children, court records state.
The 51-year-old former foster parent was convicted in January 2010 in U.S. Middle District Court of producing and possessing child pornography.
The jury deliberated less than 30 minutes before finding Brooks, formerly of Salladasburg and Jersey Shore, guilty of charges that exposed her to a mandatory 15 years in prison on the production charge alone.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Samuelson presented evidence and witnesses for the prosecution. The defense opted to call no witnesses to the stand.
During his closing comments, defense attorney Stephen Smith found fault with the testimony of a Virginia man, who appeared under subpoena and admitted meeting Brooks on an Internet subscription site and engaging in a fantasy sex life as her sex slave in 2007.
The man also recalled a Web camera conversation with the defendant during which he claimed she suddenly aimed the camera at a child performing sex acts.
Smith described the man as an admitted deviant and questioned whether his testimony was believable.
U.S. District Senior Judge James F. McClure Jr. presided at the trial.