Alexander Salterio is back in Douglas County Jail to await trial.
Salterio, a former Myrtle Creek police officer who pleaded guilty to eight felonies, had his pleas and judgment vacated by a Marion County Court.
Senior Judge Claudia M. Burton wrote in her decision, “Trial counsel should have informed (Salterio) about the possibility of filing a motion to suppress and that petitioner’s plea, entered without that information, was not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent.”
Salterio appeared for a status check before Douglas County Circuit Court Judge George Ambrosini on Friday, where his bail was set at $7 million. Salterio’s next court appearance is at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday.
Salterio was arrested and initially charged with 15 felonies after police said he reached out to underage girls online and requested nude photos of them. In return, Salterio would send a photo of a male teenager to convince the girls he was under the age of 18.
Salterio was also investigated for the treatment of his foster child, who claimed he had touched her inappropriately.
Salterio pleaded guilty to four counts of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, two counts of encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree, aggravated identity theft and sexual abuse in the first degree.
According to the judgment from Burton, an investigation into Salterio was started following two cyber tips in December 2018. Through a warrant, police found 17,000 pages and over 3,000 images or videos in January 2019. Salterio was arrested Feb. 8, 2019, the same day his foster daughter claimed he last sexually abused her.
During the original trial, Salterio’s lawyers did not site two specific cases that could have had an impact on the trial: Mansor and Savath, which is why he is being retried.
In the State v. Mansor, the court ruled that there was probably cause to search the computer for information on the date, but that a warrant does not authorize the search for earlier information.
Burton said there was undoubtably probable cause to search for Oct. 19 and 20, 2018, but the warrant issued reached back a full year. “There was not indication in the affidavit of probable cause to believe that petitioner had engaged in unlawful conduct a year before,” Burton wrote.
State v. Savath further narrowed the scope of what police can ask for in a warrant search.
Burton’s decision states that viewing both of those cases, “any reasonable trial counsel would have seen that there was at least a possible motion to suppress” which could have deprived the state from using a significant amount of evidence.
“I find that petitioner has established that his pleas were not knowing, voluntary and intelligent because he was not advised of the possibility of filing a motion to suppress, or of the potential risks and benefits of such a strategy,” Burton wrote. Later adding, “My conclusion is that petitioner should have had the opportunity to make an informed decision as to whether to proceed with such a motion.”
The News-Review reached out to Salterio’s attorney David Terry, but could not reach him for a comment.
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