The Buffalo, Minn., man sought home confinement; the judge recommended the Federal Medical Center.
James Carl Zadow is a broken man, his lawyer said in federal court Thursday -- made a quadriplegic by a car accident a decade ago. "Like many broken, hopeless and powerless human beings, Mr. Zadow turned to the Internet," attorney Rory Durkin said.
Actually, Zadow, 61, turned to child pornography on the Internet. For possessing pornographic images of young girls -- including videos -- Zadow was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen to 68 months in a federal prison.
Zadow, who said he must take 28 different medications a day and go through grueling physical therapy just to slow his physical deterioration, begged Erickson for a sentence without prison time. He could have received a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
Ericksen said a sentence that called for home confinement rather than imprisonment would not be punishment enough for possessing images depicting abuse that will haunt its victims for the rest of their lives.
"And I just cannot do that," she said.
Ericksen agreed to give Zadow until Aug. 3 to voluntarily surrender to authorities.
In addition to the nearly six years in prison, Ericksen sentenced Zadow to supervised release for the rest of his life. He cannot own a computer or have access to the Internet without permission and monitoring from probation officials, she said.
Zadow, of Buffalo, was charged in January 2008. He had worked out a plea agreement that called for less prison time, but he was found to possess more pornographic images during a presentence investigation. Durkin argued that the court should adhere to the plea agreement, but Ericksen reminded the attorney that she is the only person who sets the sentence and is not bound by any plea agreement between the attorneys.
Durkin argued that Zadow's physical condition called for a more lenient sentence.
Zadow, frail and shaking as he sat in a three-wheeled motorized scooter in front of Ericksen, is no threat to reoffend, Durkin said. Imprisonment, away from his current regimen of treatment, would likely make his condition worse.
Zadow was traveling to Illinois in 1999 when he was involved in a horrific car accident, Durkin told the court. He needs a personal attendant to manage basic tasks, such as bathing and getting dressed.
"For Mr. Zadow, prison would be more than a normal hardship," Durkin said. "It would be a disaster."
When asked if he had anything to say to the court, Zadow compared himself to a terminally ill person. Except, he said, a terminally ill person wishes every day to live their life to the fullest. In his case, he said, there are days when he sometimes wished not to go on.
Ericksen said she would recommend that Zadow serve his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, but that there would be no guarantee.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428