Criminal Justice

Former law prof pleads guilty to child-porn possession

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A former law professor who was at one time married to a federal judge has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography.

Joseph Whitlow Blackburn, 68, a former professor at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, pleaded guilty on Thursday, reports.

Blackburn, who lived in Hoover, Alabama, agreed to a three-year prison sentence, followed by 10 years of supervised release. He also agreed to register as a sex offender.

The plea stems from a 2013 investigation into the online sharing of child pornography. Federal agents traced some downloads to an IP address and obtained a search warrant for Blackburn’s home. Seized computers revealed pornographic images depicting children, according to a press release.

Blackburn told investigators he downloaded adult pornography, and may have seen some images of child pornography that he deleted.

Blackburn was formerly married to Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn. According to a 2007 story in the Birmingham Business Journal, the divorce proceedings occurred in 2003. Joseph Blackburn later filed an unsuccessful malpractice case against his divorce lawyer and a federal suit alleging a conspiracy to inflate attorney fees in divorce cases.

The suit was tossed based on judicial immunity and the statute of limitations, according to federal Pacer records.

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