DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — A Decatur couple is still charged with possession of child pornography despite a motion to have their indictments dismissed. Some of the counts they were charged with were dismissed, but not all.
Douglas and Kelly Nichols, 54 and 52, respectively, were each charged in January with a dozen or more felony counts of the crime. The subjects of that content, court documents show, were the Nichols’ own children.
This month, the two filed a motion to have their indictments dismissed. They claimed the pictures and videos in question did not meet the statue definition of child pornography and that the grand jury acted improperly for investigating personal affairs where no criminal activity took place. They also accused prosecutors of improperly instructing the grand jury as it was deliberating on charges.
The court documents, which were provided by the Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office, addressed each of the Nichols’ claims, starting with what constitutes child pornography. The documents state that the content needed to meet a definition of “lewd exhibition” laid out in a 1999 Illinois Supreme Court case to be considered child pornography. Each picture and video also needed to be examined individually.
The grand jury reviewed 16 pictures and videos the Nichols were accused of possessing, 12 of which resulted in charges. The documents state that after the Nichols’ motion to dismiss, it was found that two videos did not meet the legal definition of a lewd exhibition. The rest of the content did meet that definition.
As a result, Douglas Nichols had two counts dropped from his case while Kelly Nichoas had six dropped. That still left them with 10 and 12 counts, respectively.
With 10 images and videos still considered child pornography, the court rejected the Nichols’ claim that the grand jury had acted improperly for investigating their personal affairs where no criminal conduct was involved. The court also rejected the Nichols’ claim of prosecutorial misconduct; using grand jury transcripts, the court found that prosecutors correctly instructed the grand jury in accordance with the law.
While the Nichols were able to have some of their charges dismissed, they were unable to have their indictments dismissed in full.