AUBURN | David Stevens is facing as many as four years of prison for his crime.

The Auburn man decided to plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting, or sharing, that same material to others.

Upon his arraignment, Stevens elected to represent himself as his own defense in further proceedings. Cayuga County Judge Mark Fandrich decided to grant that request, but had appointed attorney Rome Canzano as an adviser.

For Stevens' guilty plea to the two criminal counts, District Attorney Jon Budelmann said it would be acceptable if Stevens was issued an indeterminate sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

Budelmann's offer would be about half of the maximum sentence for just promoting such material, which is 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.

After hearing Budelmann's offer, Stevens sought to reduce the charges he stood accused of to misdemeanors in respect, he said, to his status as a first-time offender that has never posed a danger to society.

Stevens said he has never directly harmed anybody, but both the DA and the judge disagreed and denied his request.

"If you plead guilty to child porn, the victims depicted have been harmed," Fandrich said.

The Auburn man agreed with Fandrich's assessment, but said the reason he was asking for a reduction was because of his wife's well-being.

Stevens said he learned 10 days ago that his wife was diagnosed with cancer and would find out Wednesday whether or not it was operable. Stevens said he wanted to be with his wife to help her.

"I agree I should be punished," Stevens said. "What I'm begging the court and the DA's latitude for is because of what's happening to my wife ... I would dearly love to be there to help her through that."

Fandrich said matters of bail would be decided when the court was provided medical documentation as proof of his wife's condition and statements from the attending physicians on whether Stevens needed to be there or not.

The issue of bail will be dealt with by the court at some point in the near future, Canzano said.

When Fandrich asked for the documentation from Stevens, the Auburn man said he did not know he was supposed to bring proof. Canzano intervened before that went farther, asking — and being requested — a recess to help Stevens regroup.

When they were recalled, Stevens admitted his guilt to the court.

"I had a file-sharing program that allowed me to download this material and upload this material," Stevens said.

For his plea, Fandrich promised Stevens a sentence of six months of shock probation with 10 years probation at the minimum with a maximum sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison.

Formal sentencing will take place on Nov. 26.

Regardless, Stevens will be registered onto the state's sex offender registry and pay the fees, which will total more than $1,000 when all is accounted for.

Also in court:

• An Auburn man's fate was decided the same day he pleaded guilty.

Michael Caldwell, 38, 47 Barber St., pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary on Tuesday. He also pleaded guilty to violating his probation from a previous criminal conviction in 2010.

Caldwell, with a co-defendant, was charged on July 21, 2013 for breaking into a van on Hulbert Street. The two stole more than $1,000 worth of computer hardware and installation equipment from the van, according to Budelmann. The equipment was returned to the owners.

After the judge agreed to waive the pre-sentencing report, Caldwell was sentenced two to four years in prison for the burglary charge.

Caldwell was also sentenced one to three years for violating his probation. The sentences will run consecutively.

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or greg.mason@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

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