Terry Childs is denied motion for retrial

The former network administrator is expected to be sentenced Aug. 6 after several postponements

The former San Francisco network administrator who refused to hand over passwords for one of the city's networks was denied a new trial on Friday and is expected to be sentenced Aug. 6, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said.

Terry Childs had been due for sentencing Friday but the court instead heard two defense motions, one requesting a new trial and the other for arrested judgment -- essentially to have his original conviction overturned.

The motions were both denied but the court then ran out of time before the sentencing phase could be conducted, said Erica Derryck, spokeswoman for the office of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

A jury found Childs guilty in April of one felony count of denying computer services. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, though he has already spent two years in custody while the trial proceeded.

A few members of the jury had come to the courtroom Friday to hear his sentencing, Derryck said.

Childs was arrested in July 2008 after he refused to hand over administrative passwords to the city of San Francisco's FiberWAN network to his managers when requested. He has been in custody ever since on a US$5 million bond.

Childs, who was a network administrator in San Francisco's Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS), claimed to have been acting in the interests of security. He said he feared the passwords would be shared indiscriminately with city management and third-party contractors.

He eventually turned them over only when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom visited him in jail and convinced him to give them up.

The city lost administrative control over its network for 12 days and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars recovering from the incident.

Sentencing was originally scheduled for June 14 but has been postponed several times for new motions. The sentencing is expected to take place at the next hearing.

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James Niccolai

IDG News Service
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