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Accused ex-deputy asks judge for tax filing permission

Accused ex-deputy asks judge for tax filing permission

Former deputy's father already has power of attorney for him
Accused ex-deputy asks judge for tax filing permission
Saratoga County sheriff's Sgt. Peter Farnum.

SARATOGA COUNTY -- A fired Saratoga County sheriff's deputy awaiting trial on child pornography possession charges is apparently being extra careful, after his admonishment last month for violating conditions of his pre-trial release.

His attorney Tuesday filed a motion aimed at allowing him to file his taxes.

Attorney Cheryl Coleman asked Magistrate Judge Daniel Stewart for a "slight, temporary modification" of a prohibition on computer or electronic device use during his release so he can file his tax return. As an alternative, she asked that Peter Farnum's father be allowed to file on his behalf.

Farnum, 41, of Ballston Lake, is accused of possessing child pornography images that were found on a computer hard drive. He is free pending trial and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

Coleman has questioned the evidence in the case, specifically gaps in Farnum's possession of the computer in question. He is accused of having the images between October 2015 and April 2016. The federal complaint in the case indicates the investigation began in April 2017 with a computer that was analyzed during divorce proceedings involving Farnum.

Farnum was released after his summer arrest, but under certain conditions. 

Stewart admonished Farnum in court last month after reports that he drove too close to his estranged wife's residence on a trip to a convenience store. 

Prosecutors argued that the violation should have resulted in his being held pending trial. Farnum's attorneys successfully argued for him to remain free, but Stewart reminded Farnum of the importance of complying with all the conditions of his release and of the consequences for failing to do so.

Farnum was a seven-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department and was promoted to sergeant in May. He was suspended without pay after his arrest and has since been fired.

No ruling on Coleman's tax-related motion had been filed by early afternoon Tuesday, but Coleman suggested the modification last for 48 hours and cover four specific websites, while also allowing Farnum to access his email. It was unclear how Farnum's release conditions would prevent his father from filing on his behalf. Coleman noted he already has power of attorney for Farnum.


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