Convicted child pornographer and former State Rep. Keith Farnham is at death’s door and should be allowed to die “with dignity” outside prison, his lawyer says.
The terminally-ill, 67-year-old Elgin Democrat was due to be sentenced on March 19 to a minimum of five years behind bars for sharing child porn online with other pedophiles.
But his attorney, Terry Ekl, says Farnham has terminal pulmonary fibrosis, bladder cancer and hepatitis C and is expected to die within four months. He filed court papers Friday asking U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang to postpone Farnham’s sentencing for six months — and to let Farnham stay at his home, under electronic monitoring, until he dies.
A doctor hired by Farnham, Karla Hudson, says Farnham won’t get the hospice care he needs in prison. Prison hospice beds are limited, and even if Farnham gets one, he will likely be denied the amount of painkillers he needs and will be kept from his family, Hudson wrote in a letter to the judge.
Farnham pleaded guilty in December, admitting he kept more than 2,700 illegal photos and videos on his work and home computers.
Chang last month denied a previous attempt by Farnham to delay his sentencing.
But Ekl says Farnham’s condition has since worsened and that Farnham is taking morphine and Ativan, which leave him disorientated, dizzy and confused and therefore unable to participate in court proceedings.
Prosecutors have yet to respond to Farnham’s request to die at home, but they earlier this week urged Chang to go ahead with the March 19 sentencing hearing, arguing that Farnham’s victims deserve justice.
The government joined in a conference call with Ekl and Farnham’s nurse on Thursday. It says there’s no evidence that Farnham, who has carried an oxygen tank into previous hearings, is “legally incompetent” to be sentenced.
Chang late Friday suggested holding the hearing nearer to Farnham’s Elgin home to make it easier for him to attend.
Prosecutors recently revealed that they intend to introduce a statement at Farnham’s sentencing by a woman who says she was sexually abused by Farnham when she was a minor.
Farnham denies that. And Ekl has recently filed court papers stating that Farnham himself was sexually abused repeatedly when he was a boy.