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Press Release

Hallettsville Man Gets 28 Years For Receiving Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

VICTORIA, Texas – Hallettsville resident James Leland Copeland, 42, has been sentenced to a significant term of federal imprisonment for receiving child pornography, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Copeland pleaded guilty on May 10, 2013.

U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa, who accepted the guilty plea, sentenced Copeland to the 28-year-term taking into consideration the need to protect the public and deter future criminal behavior in the defendant and others. He was further ordered to serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of the prison term. In handing down the sentence, Judge Costa noted Copeland’s recidivism and substantially greater role in the offense than the average child pornography recipient. Judge Costa determined that Copeland, while not directly producing the child pornography he received himself, he nonetheless played a significant role in causing it to be produced. Copeland will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Copeland was a wanted person from Tennessee for failure to register as a sex offender. He had been previously convicted of possession of child pornography in the Eastern District of Tennessee in 2004 and sentenced to 51 months in the Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) determined Copeland was living in Hallettsville and had failed to register within the state of Texas.

As a result of a federal arrest and search warrant, authorities searched Copeland’s residence on Dec. 18, 2012, at which time   several electronic storage devices and other written media were seized from the home. The Corpus Christi Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (CCPD-ICAC) conducted a forensic examination of the electronic storage devices which led to the discovery of several images of child pornography. An examination of the written media revealed it to be the transcription of emails and other Internet-based communications between Copeland and various persons on the Internet. 

Some of that correspondence was with a person calling herself “Ms. Majesty,” later identified as Desiree Lee Padilla, of Brownsville. The communications between the two were primarily sexual in nature and discussed their mutual sexual attraction to children. Padilla sent several pictures of child pornography wherein she sexually assaulted an infant female relative.

Padilla was prosecuted by state authorities for aggravated sexual assault of a child and subsequently sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on Sept. 11, 2013.

Copeland will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

HSI, CCPS-ICAC investigated with the assistance of USMS.

This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lance Duke, was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab "resources."

Updated April 30, 2015