Today's mystery: How did a child pornographer get paroled from a 1,000-year sentence?

I’ve heard of time off for good behavior, but this is beyond ridiculous to the point of obscene. The judge who originally sentenced Peter Mallory in 2012 called him “probably the most prolific collector of child pornography in the entire world,” and applied consecutive sentences to keep him in prison for 1,000 years. Mallory’s collection was not just vast but particularly cruel, with images of child rape and torture among them.

He should have been in prison for the rest of his life. Today, however, the former county commissioner walks free on parole after serving 0.8% of his sentence:

A Georgia pedophile sentenced to 1,000 years in prison was let out on parole following an appeals court ruling, prompting the district attorney to lament he was “powerless to stop it.”

Peter Mallory was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, tampering with evidence and invasion of privacy in 2011. At his sentencing in 2012, a circuit court judge called him “probably the most prolific collector of child pornography in the entire world,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But an appeals court ruled in May that the sentence Mallory served was appropriate, and he was released three weeks later, on May 27.

Even among those convicted of this crime, Mallory stands out for depravity, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted:

“The evidence demonstrated that Mallory knowingly and intentionally sought out, gathered, downloaded and saved these images and videos of children being raped, tortured and sexually exploited,” Cranford said in a prior news release.

The invasion of privacy counts stemmed from a hidden camera Mallory installed in his office that he used to secretly record young women, Cranford said. …

Cranford said he opposed parole “now or any time in the future” and said the Troup County community would be offended if Mallory was released after serving just seven years of his 1,000-year sentence.

“The evidence shows that Mallory is sexually deviant and commits these crimes by compulsion as much as by choice,” he said in the letter. “In the current digital age, no amount of supervision can stop a compulsive sexual deviant like Mallory from seeking out the most heinous images and videos of small children being sexually abused.”

Two victims involved in the case also opposed parole, Cranford said. At a minimum, they asked that Mallory be banned from Troup County and from contacting them if he was released.

The New York Daily News quipped, “Time flies when you’re a disgusting pervert,” and also reported the reasoning behind the decision. The original sentencing did not preclude parole; in fact, it’s not clear whether that was even an option in sentencing on these charges. Besides, we now find out that Georgia tends to ignore consecutive sentencing when it comes to parole applications anyway:

According to Cranford, Mallory’s conviction did not allow for a sentence that didn’t include the possibility of his parole and the parole board ruled that, considering “performance incentive credits,” the prolific porn collector had served his time.

Cranford, who recommended the parole board keep Mallory locked up in December, said in his letter that he doesn’t think court supervision, an ankle bracelet and a mandate for Mallory to register as a sex offender will stop the convicted deviant from getting back to his old hobby.

“Performance incentive credits” are the official term for time off for good behavior. No one doubts the value of that incentive; prison officials and guards need those to deal with imprisoned convicts that literally have nothing but time on their hands otherwise. Mallory behaved himself while in custody, apparently, and that’s all fine and good. But even Little Lord Fauntleroy would have trouble behaving to the point of getting 992 years knocked off a prison sentence.

At the time of Mallory’s sentencing, everyone involved expected Mallory to serve the rest of his natural life in prison — the judge, the victims, and the community. Given Mallory’s crimes, that was a just punishment. If consecutive sentences don’t mean anything in Georgia at parole time, then perhaps judges should refrain from applying them — or the state legislature needs to change the laws of parole to make sure that those sentences are reliable.

Update: My friend and Georgia native Erick Erickson is deeply angered over Mallory’s release:

Indeed we do, but we need to talk about parole boards and honest sentencing even more.