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200-year sentence for teacher in child-porn case stands

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the case of a former Arizona high school teacher sentenced to 200 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider the case of a former Arizona high school teacher sentenced to 200 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Lawyers for Morton Berger of Phoenix had argued that his sentence was grossly disproportionate to his crime, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The high court declined to consider the constitutional challengewithout additional commentary.

A judge in 2004 sentenced the former Cortez High School teacher to consecutive 10-year prison terms on each of 20 convictions for sexual exploitation of a minor. Each of the 20 counts was for possessing computer and printed images of child pornography, and 10 years was the minimum sentence for each count.

Arizona law requires that the sentences be served consecutively and that they be served without the possibility of probation, early release or pardon.

Asking the Supreme Court not to take the case, the Arizona attorney general's office said law enforcement officers who went to Berger's home seized two computers and 250 disks containing thousands of pornographic images of children, organized by age, sexual activity and sexual partners.