November 28, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court has set aside a guilty plea and prison sentence of a former California college professor for sexually abusing an infant.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the sentencing judge had injected himself into plea negotiations for Kenneth Kyle by supporting a life term.
Kyle will remain in prison but the ruling means his sentence could eventually be reduced.
Kyle, a former professor at California State University, East Bay, was arrested three years ago after federal agents said they found child pornography on his computer.
Authorities say Kyle and 21-year-old Tessa Van Vlerah took photos while sexually abusing her 13-month-old girl. Van Vlerah pleaded guilty in Missouri to sexual abuse and was sentenced to 30 years to life.