A former Greeneville Police Department auxiliary officer who downloaded child pornography on a patrol car laptop was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 39 months in federal prison.
Herbert Eugene Miller, 45, was sentenced by Judge J. Ronnie Greer. Miller had earlier entered a guilty plea to possession of child pornography.
Miller was a part-time, paid auxiliary officer from June 2000 until August 2013, when an investigation into his activities was concluded.
Miller, of Chuckey, was arrested by the FBI.
A criminal complaint said that on or about July 27 and 28, 2013, Miller “did knowingly receive child pornography (that) had been shipped and transported in interstate commerce, by computer” and “did knowingly possess child pornography.”
The complaint said that on Aug. 4, a patrol officer alerted a shift supervisor about a search history in the web browser on the computer in a Greeneville Police Department patrol car.
Those entries, the complaint stated, indicated “child pornography web searches.”
The FBI was immediately notified.
Miller was also placed on supervised release for 20 years after his prison term is complete, and must register on the sex offender registry.
Miller apologized before sentencing to his family and the public for his actions.
Greer painstakingly explained why he didn’t give Miller a harsher sentence. From all indications, Miller’s actions while on duty were an “isolated incident,” the judge said.
“I don’t know why Mr. Miller did this and frankly, I’m not sure if he knows why he did this,” Miller’s lawyer, Ben Sharp, told the judge.
Miller’s having no prior police record and other factors contributed to the recommendation by prosecutors, accepted by Greer, that Miller be sentenced in a 37-to-46 month range, well below the 10-year maximum prison sentence he could have received.
Greer said he also had to consider that Miller’s actions were an abuse of a position of public trust that “undermines the public respect for law enforcement.”
“It’s such an incredibly stupid thing to do,” Greer said.