AUGUSTA, Maine — Justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court considered Thursday whether the 60-year sentence imposed last year on an Augusta man who recorded his sexual assault of two young boys was too harsh.

Wade Robert Hoover, 39, is serving a 40-year sentence at the U.S. penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona, on the federal charges of producing and possessing child pornography. After he completes that sentence, Hoover would be returned to Maine to serve another 20 years in a state prison.

Hoover, who pleaded guilty in 2015 in state court to four counts of gross sexual assault, admitted that in 2012 he drugged and sexually abused the boys who were enrolled at his Lewiston karate studio. He also admitted that he videotaped the assaults, which took place in Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Scott Hess, Hoover’s attorney for the state case, argued that the 60-year sentence is disproportionate to the crimes he committed and violates the Maine Constitution.

“Twenty-five to 30 years in prison would have been sufficient to meet the goal of public safety,” Hess told the justices Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy in February 2016 sentenced Hoover to 25 years on the charge out of Somerset County and 35 years on the three counts out of Kennebec County. She ordered that Hoover serve the two state sentences consecutively, with the combined 60-year sentence to be served concurrently with his 40-year federal sentence.

The Legislature in the last decade has passed laws that increased penalties in child sexual assault cases, but has not imposed a mandatory minimum sentence.

Under Maine’s version of Jessica’s Law, judges are to start their sentencing analyses at 20 years if the victim is under the age of 12. There is no maximum penalty.

Justice Joseph Jabar said Tuesday that Hess appeared to be asking the court to issue guidelines for defacto life sentences in sexual assault cases involving children — as it did in its so-called Shortsleeves decision in 1990 that outlines when judges may impose life sentences in murder cases.

“If we do something similar to what we did in Shortsleeves, there are in this case multiple victims who were children the age under 12, who were drugged, and videotaped,” he said. “If we put in those factors, aren’t they all here in this case? Doesn’t that justify a long sentence?”

Hess said that he believed Murphy considered those factors but gave special weight to the public safety aspect of sentencing.

Paul Cavanaugh, deputy district attorney for Somerset and Kennebec counties, told the justices that the sentence was not disproportionate considering the way the crimes were committed, the number of victims and their ages, and the need to protect the public from Hoover, should he ever be released.

“People have to answer for the wicked that they’ve done,” he said.

There is no timetable under which the justices must issue an opinion.

To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.