Prosecutor Who Threatened Teens With Child Porn Charges For Taking Pics Of Themselves Gets Sued

from the back-at-ya dept

Back in January, we got a tremendous response in the comments to a post about some teens in Pennsylvania who were facing the potential of child porn charges from an overzealous local prosecutor. Three girls had snapped nude and semi-nude pictures of themselves, and and faced charges of manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography; the two boys they sent the photos faced possession raps. Now, the ACLU has sued the prosecutor on the girls' behalf, saying he shouldn't have threatened them with baseless charges -- which haven't yet been filed -- if they wouldn't agree to probation and a counseling program. The prosecutor says he was being "proactive" in offering them a choice, but the ACLU says he shouldn't be using "heavy artillery" to make the threats. As its attorney points out, teaching kids that this sort of behavior can bring all sorts of unwanted and unforeseen ramifications is a good idea, but threatening them with child-porn charges isn't the best way to do it. Of course, in neighboring New Jersey, it seems like prosecutors didn't just stick to threats of such charges: a 14-year-old girl has now been arrested for child porn possession and distribution for posting nude photos of herself on MySpace for her boyfriend to see. At least in that case, they say they won't charge friends who viewed the photos as well.


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  1.  
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    Ima Fish, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    If you accept that child porn is illegal, (I'm not saying it should or should not be, that's simply irrelevant) than it simply does not matter who created the child porn. Whether it was a 40 year old guy taking pictures of his 13 year old daughter. Or the daughter taking pictures of herself. There is simply no exception under the law for self-created child porn.

    If you believe there is some sort of exception, please cite to that portion of the statute. I won't be holding my breath.

     

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  2.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 6:49am

    Re:

    That's not what this is about. This is about the cop using strong arm tactics to force the 13yo into something without a trial. That's why the cop is getting sued, not because anyone is defending child porn.

    I do think it's a little silly to arrest someone for taking a picture of themselves, but I'm not sure where I stand on if that should be legal or not.

     

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  3.  
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    NPGMBR, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Stupidity Reigns Supreme

    I swear our elected officials and prosecutors seem to be so deficient in common sense that it makes you wonder how these people managed to escape college with a degree only to perform some of the stupidest acts known to man.

     

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  4.  
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    Ima Fish, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 6:57am

    Re: Re:

    The blurb above calls the charges "baseless." That strongly implies that it's perfectly legal for children to create and disseminate child porn. If that's true, please cite the statute.

     

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  5.  
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    Paul Brinker, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Yes but, at least you have judges and Jury who are allowed to say the law is, incorrect(the reason for the law over the letter of the law), or wrong(the law itself does not make sence), or unconstitutional(freedom of speech includs self expression, including ones own nude body). Worst case you have Jury Nullification of the law which will start happening if this kind of suit becomes common.

    All a lawyer has to say is, "this is your kid as well who's on the stand, your mother who took pictures of you as a baby when you were in the bathtub" While I admit, a few people might take this the wrong way, most people don't want a law that puts kids in jail for a vary long time on charges they took naked pictures of them self.

    Now if a 40 year old guy gets a child to take self pictures you could argue that its the 40 year old who really did the crime as the child acted as a proxy for him.

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The two photographs, witch depict no sexual activity or display of public area, are not illegal under Pennsylvania's crimes code and, indeed, are images protected by the First Amendment."

    Quoted from the MillerComplaintFinal.pdf that is linked to in the linked to article.

    I seem to remember a part in the child pornography law about it having to be a sexual act to be considered child porn. This is why nudists sites don't always get arrested for child porn.

    One of the photos was even described as the two girls "from the waist up, lying side by side in their bras, with one talking on a telephone and the other making a peace sign." This is not even a gray area since their is no nudity or sexual context.

     

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  7.  
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    Shawn, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    re Ima Fish

    From the full article "The lawsuit says the photos do not constitute child pornography under Pennsylvania's criminal code since they depict no sexual activity and do not display the pubic area of the girls' bodies."

    Hence the 'Baseless Charges' They are not saying that it is legal to create and disseminate child porn. they are saying that the teens did not create or disseminate child porn, and threatening to charge them if they did not agree to probation was a violation of their rights.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, it's not even "child porn". Child porn involves a sexual act but these were only naked pics which is another definition and "crime" entirely.

     

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    ehrichweiss, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Looks like Chrono beat me to it by 1 min. So yeah, what he said.

     

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  10.  
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    known coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    The problem is not the prosecutors

    The problem is not the prosecutors, the problem is the law, The law says these kids are child pornographers. The prosecutor does not have a choice in whether to apply the law or not. A prosecutor’s job is to uphold the all the law, not just the ones he / she deems good and just.

    If you don’t like it, don’t vote for representatives who write stupid laws.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re:

    If you accept that child porn is illegal, (I'm not saying it should or should not be, that's simply irrelevant) than it simply does not matter who created the child porn. Whether it was a 40 year old guy taking pictures of his 13 year old daughter. Or the daughter taking pictures of herself. There is simply no exception under the law for self-created child porn. Which is retarded. The entire rationale behind child porn and statutory rape laws is the fear of exploitation/abuse/coercion. The law was never intended to establish that there was something inherently wrong with a picture of a nude 16 year old, merely that the production of such was fraught with the risk of said 16 year old being exploited, and that such risk generally out weighs the value of the image. Now we've elevated the word of the law above the intent. It should be common sense that a self produced image is far less likely to to be exploitation, and after assuring itself that the production/viewing was entirely voluntary/consensual and non-coercive the state has no interest in this.

     

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  12.  
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    Child Protector, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    PROTECT THE CHILDREN! PROTECT THE CHILDREN!

    We must do more to protect the children! The children must be protected! Whatever it takes!

    Any of us could be a child exploiter!

    Pass out the cool-aid!

     

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  13.  
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    Judsonian, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Question

    As noted already, are the pictures porn? Of course posting the pictures on MySpace violate thier TOS, but with that exception where the pictures of the girl doing "adult things" or simply of her naked? This is a VERY relevant point (that I'm sure her defense team will point out). If it was an 18 year old taking the same pictures would it also be deemed porn or just nude pictures? Are there porn laws in PA that prohibit nude photography?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There's case history that links such images to the abuse of children generally involved in the creation of such images. In this case, there was no child abuse during the creation of the images to link back to. I'm not sure of the legal standing of such history (IANAL) but it seems to me that this weakens the argument.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    It's really quite simple. The Prosecutor looked at the pictures of the teens, got turned on by them, and now has to punish them for giving him a stiffy.

     

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  16.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re:

    It's not retarded. 13 year old takes her own pictures nudes, sexts them to her boyfriend, who shows them to his older brother for a laugh. Older brother gets a copy, and puts them on the internet, where molesters get their jollies check out a 13 year old nude.

    CP is a serious issue, and regardless of source, action needs to be taken to stop it. The kids doing this crap need to understand the implications.

     

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  17.  
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    Damien, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    One question I've had ever since this story came up: isn't it also part of child porn laws that children who are "victims of child porn" are innocent of any charges that might stem from it's production or dissemination? Wouldn't that mean that these girls, as the subjects of the photos in question, are covered by victim shield law even if the prosecutor can convince a judge that the photos are porn (unlikely)?

     

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  18.  
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    Common Sense, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    That's a bold faced lie. The prosecutor absolutely has a choice in what they pursue. A family member of mine interned with a DA in an undisclosed state, who flat out said 'How can I go after kids who smoke pot when I used to do it myself?' And therefore does not go after pot smokers to the full extent he could.

    That's why there are three branches to the government. Those that write the law, and those that enforce it are separated so that the writers don't put crap in there that can work to their advantage, because the enforcers would see that it's wrong and not follow it.

    I do agree that we need to stop voting for reps who write stupid laws, that's a separate issue. You are completely wrong about the prosecutors not being the problem though.

     

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  19.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And these same "molesters" can get their "jollies" from websites selling swimsuits. There are people out there that get off on just feet? You want to require everyone in every picture to ware shoes?

    You're stretching for an excuse where there isn't one. You're also blaming the 13yo for the actions of the molester. The molester is the one getting their jollies on the non-porn.

     

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  20.  
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    Common Sense, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So we should be proactive in educating them about the problems, not turning them into criminals because they lack knowledge.

    The only real protection from stupidity is education. Sheltering your kids DOES NOT PROTECT THEM, it just makes them uninformed, vulnerable, and in great position to make a bad choice.

     

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  21.  
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    Not so Weird Bob, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Weird Harold,

    You must not quite understand how the law works in the US. If a 13 year old takes a picture of herself and her boyfriend shows someone else, he is then in trouble for distributing photos without the user's consent. Nude photos DO NOT necessarily mean pornography.

    Do some reading and get educated before you decide to post your opinion around on the internet.

     

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  22.  
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    Jack Sombra, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 7:53am

    Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    "The prosecutor does not have a choice in whether to apply the law or not. "
    Actually they do have a choice (just like the cops) and they make those types of choices ever day.

    Their choice's might be called into question, and might even be called to task and fired over them but they do have a choice

    Otherwise , they and the cops would be a load of Judge Dreads walking around going, "Littering? You are under arrest"

     

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  23.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bob, seriously, if there is one topic I am VERY VERY well versed in... pleae very carefully read usc 18 sections 2252, 2256, and 2257 to get a slightly better understanding. Basically, anything that shows any of the genitalia or similar, or is any way suggestive of sexuality is CP for the purposes of the statues. The rules have been tightened dramatically in the last few years to block out "child art" products and "teen model / molly model" type websites. The courts have even found a guy guilty who produced a video of clothed minors.

    There is no difference made in law between production and self production. While it may sound silly in the abstract, taking images of yourself nude while underage is potentially a crime.

     

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  24.  
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    Matt Bennett, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    This is a case study in "there ought to be a law" syndrome. Some body takes something everybody hates, proposes a law against it, and most people knee jerk support it, and anyone who opposes it based on unintended consequences or plain rights violation, is shouted down as "supporting" whatever awful thing is in question at the moment.

    Fact of the matter is, most times people say "there ought to be law" there really oughtent. We have too many damn laws.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's not retarded. 13 year old takes her own pictures nudes, sexts them to her boyfriend, who shows them to his older brother for a laugh. Older brother gets a copy, and puts them on the internet, where molesters get their jollies check out a 13 year old nude."
    Invalid and stupid fear mongering, could just as easily say

    "Best ban mining, because those metals might be cast into bullets, which might be then put into guns, which might then be used by terrorists...miners are supporting terrorists, ban mining and lock up all miners!!"

    When a law is banning people from taking pictures of themselves one of the following has happened

    *The law is very badly written

    *There is something messed up with those in charge of interpreting the law

    *All of the above

    In these cases it seems problem lies with the prosecutors, who are threatening to and/or attempting to lock up children for taking pictures of themselves and have them labelled for life as sex offenders in what is clearly a self promotion exercise by the prosecutors.

    Adults harming children for their own self promotion? Now there is something that should be illegal…won't someone think of the children?!?!?

     

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  26.  
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    Java Jack, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    I would hope that the prosecutor here was trying to use a "scared straight" tactic and it backfired on him.

    If he really is that overzealous, then he could probably use some common sense.

    This is really a parental issue. The parents are the ones that need to step in a talk with their children about their actions...not the govt.

    Children rarely have the vision to understand how their actions will impact themselves, others and their future. It is common for people to look back at their younger years and have some regrets about things they did. This will likely be one of those things for these girls.

     

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  27.  
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    Enrico Suarve, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Lock me up and throw away the key

    I helped bathe my niece last week (she's 5 months old)

    I guess that makes me a kiddie fiddler?

    Dammit - I blame my dad, he started me off down this dark road with all those photos he took of me in nappies

    Do X-rays count as photos? If so I'm taking that bitch radiographer who helped set my daughters leg down with me

    On another note, how about these girls streak in front of court CCTV? - presumably that would mean that the courts themselves would be producing and in possession of child porn?

     

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  28.  
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    Common Sense, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sometimes I wish prosecutors like this were just doing it to show the general public how stupid such a thing is, or demonstrate where the flaws in the law are... Unfortunately that's probably never the case.

     

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  29.  
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    Phil McCraken, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Re: re Ima Fish

    where'd he go?

     

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  30.  
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    chucklebutte, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    um...

    where are the parents


    this isnt an issue for the courts its for the parents to deal with

    parents stop being lazy and hope that the system will do your job.

     

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  31.  
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    interval, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @erichweiss: "Looks like Chrono beat me to it by 1 min. So yeah, what he said."

    I'm firmly in Chrono & erichweiss' camp. I would further add to something Chrono touched on; is it possible that this is simply a power trip being the authoritative figure (the cop) is leaving on? I just this morning saw a Fox News story about a Dallas cop who stopped a Pro football player who got stopped because he was racing to the hospital to get to his dying mother in law. The guy is screaming at the cop that his mother in law is dying and the cop is going on about writing him a ticket unless he produces proof of insurance. Didn't help that the foot ball guy (forget the name) is black either. We're living in a police state, don't fool yourselves people. Common sense has no place in such a state.

     

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  32.  
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    Dallas IT Guy, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    I guess the next logical step is to arrest rape victims for lewd behavior when they wander around in public without clothes.

    Maybe then we could move on to arresting assualt victims for disturbing the peace due to all the noise they make while being beat up.

    I know they wouldn't charge murder victims on account of them being dead, but maybe they'd start filing suit against their estates for littering public areas with all that blood.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    I Propose

    Children in PA should organize a protest whereby hundreds of 13 - 17 year old boys and girls strip naked in front of the prosecutors office and stay there for a few hours.

    Of course the problem with that is there would be TONS of pictures taken of them and even worse the 13 - 17 year old boys might not be able to restrain themselves

     

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  34.  
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    Dustin, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Lock me up and throw away the key

    Even better, have them show up to court in bikini's. If a photo of a teen in her bra counts as kiddie porn now that should be enough to snag everyone in the room for child porn. Unless, of course, the prosecutor is an idiot who doesn't understand the meaning of the term or the letter of the law.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The courts have even found a guy guilty who produced a video of clothed minors.
    I was just going to mention that. A lot of people don't realize how strict the CP laws are. The children don't even have to be nude or engaged in explicit sexual activity. Suggestiveness is all it takes.

    There is no difference made in law between production and self production. While it may sound silly in the abstract, taking images of yourself nude while underage is potentially a crime.
    And in a similar vein, there are also laws that make it a crime to engage in sexual activity with a person under a certain age, period. Even if that person is themselves. So basically, it is a felony sex crime for a person under a certain age to masturbate. That's the law.

    Of course, catching the little buggers at it can be difficult for the cops. That's why people like the Houston Chief of Police have said that they need to have surveillance cameras in private homes. To detect crime in the home and protect the children (from themselves).

     

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  36.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh good - so now any perv with pictures of someone under 18 naked can just say "hey, she took them herself" and it's all good?

    The mining example is a total crock. Can you provide me a list of good uses for pictures of naked 13 year olds? Next to it, make me list of good used for mined metals.

    Call me when it starts to make sense to you.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    If you don’t like it, don’t vote for representatives who write stupid laws.

    I don't. Unfortunately, many of my fellow citizens do.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    "One question I've had ever since this story came up: isn't it also part of child porn laws that children who are "victims of child porn" are innocent of any charges that might stem from it's production or dissemination?"

    No.

     

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  39.  
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    Rekrul, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    Re:

    Yes but, at least you have judges and Jury who are allowed to say the law is, incorrect(the reason for the law over the letter of the law), or wrong(the law itself does not make sence), or unconstitutional(freedom of speech includs self expression, including ones own nude body). Worst case you have Jury Nullification of the law which will start happening if this kind of suit becomes common.

    For most intents and purposes, Jury Nullification doesn't exist any more. Sure, it's still a legal right, but very few people know about it, and anyone who shows signs of being aware of it won't be picked to be on a jury. Once the actual trial gets inder way, the judge will blatantly LIE to the jury and tell them "If the prosecutor proves that the defendant did what they're accused of, you MUST find them guilty."

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    The point of child porn laws is to prevent exploitation of children. If you charge a child with taking a nude picture of them self, then you are saying someone is able to exploit them self.

    Now that does not make sense.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    @Not so Weird Bob: "You must not quite understand how the law works in the US...Do some reading and get educated before you decide to post your opinion."

    All the education in the world is not going to make me believe that prosecution of children who send nude pix of themselves to their friends was the intent of this law when drafted. Even so, the purpose of prosecutors and judges should be to JUDICIOUSLY apply and interpret laws, not be robotic dispensers & enforcers of the state's will. We're supposed to have a blind justice system The defendants at Nuremberg blamed their actions and lack of reason to an all-seeing state system.

     

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  42.  
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    interval, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Re: I Propose

    "Of course the problem with that is there would be TONS of pictures taken of them..."

    Yep. By the cops.

     

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  43.  
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    Bent Reality, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    The letter of the law has to bend to the spirit of the law. As briefly mentioned above, if you take pictures of your kids in the bathtub, then your a Child Porn developer? You can go to jail and be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

    Seems that the law is being applied to state exactly that, which is idiotic.

     

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  44.  
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    wnyght, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    You know, at one time, a boy was a man at 18, still a teenager, but considered an adult. At one time, this same 18 year old male could marry a girl that was still in her early teens, 13 14 15ish and it was considered acceptable. As our society progressed, we started pushing back the age limit/start of when someone is considered an adult an responsible for there own decisions.

    I'm sorry, while i don't support CP, I think a 13/14 year old knows what sexual desire is, and wants to explore it. I see nothing wrong with that. Teens should be edjucated so they know all that is involed with sex, but you can't stop them from doing what they biologically want to do. Now if this girl was taking pics of herself with the intent of trying to lure older men into doing something they shouldn't, then there is a problem. Sending pics to her boyfriend to turn him on... come on. Teens have been doing this sort of thing in one form or another for a very long time. Big deal *rolls eyes*. This all boils down to the same thing that everything else seems to now adays... "protect the children," "what about the children,"
    "SAVE THE CHILDREN!"

    Face the facts, kids do what they want. Some get away with it and some are caught, but they still do it. Can you really call this girl a criminal or victem for taking pics of herself. How many of you guys out there what have saw anything wrong with your girlfriend sending you provocative photos of herself what you were teens? hmmmm?

     

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  45.  
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    Steve L, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Well in Ohio, this is how they are starting to tackle these sorts of issues, which seem to keep happening over and over. So obviously the laws need some work.

    http://www.middletownjournal.com/hp/content/oh/story/news/local/2009/03/26/ws032609sexting. html

     

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  46.  
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    wnyght, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:03am

    typos typos everywhere, lol

    ok, for the corrections to the last statement.

    "how many of you guys out there would have seen anything wrong with your girlfriend sending you provocative photos of herself when you were teens?"

    sorry for the typos, last sentence should should read better now.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yea, so lets convict a 13yo for taking pictures of themselves as sexual predators and take away all their rights and label them for the rest of their lives. That makes A LOT of sense. Lets ruin their entire life because of some bone head decision they made when they were too young to realize the stupidity of it. Because, you know, society is better off now that these sexual predators are brought to justice. I just have to ask, are you that FUCKING STUPID?!?

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    All the education in the world is not going to make me believe that prosecution of children who send nude pix of themselves to their friends was the intent of this law when drafted.
    If it wasn't then they could have written the law differently. They didn't.

    We're supposed to have a blind justice system
    Which would apply the law equally to everyone.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If they are too young to realize the stupidity of it, then they are too young to be in the pictures.

    CP are serious business, because preditors are sneaky people. Give them a hole like this, and they will suddenly claim that every picture they have was sent to them by a 13 year old that took the pictures herself, somehow making it okay.

    Would you feel different if her boyfriend was 19? Or that she accidentily sent them to her church pastor instead of her boyfriend (next number in speed dial)?

    SHe did what she did, and there is a law against it. What more needs to be said?

     

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  50.  
    icon
    PT (profile), Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    A few explanatory notes

    Maybe a few more facts about the case would guide the discussion better.

    1. The naughty pics were discovered by school officials last October during a search of personal property which in itself might be violate the 4th Amendment.

    2. Within a couple of weeks, the DA involved, George Skumanick Jr., announced at a public meeting that the minors involved could be prosecuted for "sexual abuse of children" and "criminal use of a communication facility", felonies worth 7 years and sex offender registration. He repeated these threats to reporters and tv interviewers at every opportunity.

    3. In February, he wrote to the parents stating that their child "has been identified in a police investigation involving the possession and/or dissemination of child pornography", telling them about the rehab program, and stating that any that did not attend would be prosecuted.
    attend. When the parents objected, he told them "these are the rules, if you don't like them, too bad." All but three of the families caved to the threats.

    4. It is the mothers of the three holdouts who brought the case, not the ACLU. It claims that what the girls did was in no way participating in child pornography and that the photos are protected by the First Amendment. Finally it claims that "Skumanick's insistence that the plaintiff parents force their children to attend a re-education course interferes with the parents’ right to direct and control their childrens upbringing."

    5. Skumanick is up for re-election next November in rural Wyoming County.

    Weird Harold, what is your problem, and how come you know so much about Child Pornography?

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Mechwarrior, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Can someone define "pornography" for me and tell me its the same as "nudity"? Because if thats the case, then theres' a whole bunch of R rated movies that should be considered pornography then.

     

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  52.  
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    AJ, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    Burn em

    I say we burn all 13 year olds at the stake. Them and the hundreds of thousands of parents that take pic's of their kids as toddlers running around naked. While were at it, lets toss in all underage streakers, tit-flashers, breast feeders, topless beach goers, open window shower takers, the drive by mooning bastards, the slopy drunk (I've lost my clothes) teenie boppers, any the most repulsive of all, the dirty fuckers that pass out the teen self breast exam sketchs at schools. Anyone caught with pictures, or in the act of any of the above, should burn! Think of the children!

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    WH wrote:

    "Bob, seriously, if there is one topic I am VERY VERY well versed in... pleae very carefully read usc 18 sections 2252, 2256, and 2257 to get a slightly better understanding."

    What I want to know is why is WH "VERY VERY well versed" in CP laws? Considering that he appears to run a few porn sites himself... then it would appear that perhaps are friendly local troll is involved in the CP world himself...

     

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  54.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: Flawed Logic

    > If you believe there is some sort of
    > exception, please cite to that portion of
    > the statute. I won't be holding my breath.

    The exception is called common sense. To interpret this law in this manner results in a legal paradox whereby the both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime are the same person.

    If this girl had been caught masturbating, would it also be appropriate to charge her with sexual assault on a minor? After all, the law that crminializes sexual assault makes no exception for self-assault, so according to your logic, every teen who does it should be a felon and a sex offender.

    And more to the point, all these laws were supposedly passed to "protect the children". The hysteria has now reached the point where we're prosecuting the children and marking them as felons and sex offenders for life in order to protect them. How much sense does that make?

     

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  55.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Jurisdiction

    > read usc 18 sections 2252, 2256, and
    > 2257 to get a slightly better understanding.

    All well and good but those federal statutes have NOTHING to do with this case.

    These girls are being charged under Pennsylvania law, not federal law. And Pennsylvania does require either depiction of the genitals or some overt sexual display. The pictures in question do not meet that standard. One is of two girls fully clothed. The other only shows bare breasts in a non-sexual setting.

    Perhaps you should pay a little more attention to detail before condescendingly telling others they have no understanding of what's going on here.

     

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  56.  
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    DCX2, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    Can I get a Reality Check?

    As its attorney points out, teaching kids that this sort of behavior can bring all sorts of unwanted and unforeseen ramifications is a good idea

    I'm so sick of this myth that naked pictures cause problems. The shame associated with nudity (and even sex) says more about the those viewing the picture than those who are in it.

    Seriously, has anyone ever known someone whose life was ruined because of a naked picture?

    Anyone?

    If it weren't for that prosecutor, none of you would have ever known anything about this. Isn't it ironic that the response taken to teach these kids about "unintended consequences" has done more to create those exact unintended consequences than the act itself?

     

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  57.  
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    Common Sense, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If they are too young to realize the stupidity of it, then they are too young to be in the pictures."

    That is true, but it also means that they are too young to have their lives ruined for a mistake that they didn't fully understand. Just like underage children do not get punished for theft and the like the same way an adult does, we shouldn't be punishing them this way either. Illegal or not, make them understand what they did and why it was wrong, don't ruin their lives, they're too young for that.

     

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  58.  
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    I. P. Frelie, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:00am

    Where's the Parents?

    This is all well and good to have our Judical System bogged down with a simple case of slapping the kid up side the head and saying what were you thinking?

    Take the cell phone w/camera away and replace (1 to 2 months later) with a non photo taking cell that can only call 911, mom, dad, grandma.

     

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  59.  
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    None, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    These kids are clearly dangerous perverts. we need to charge them all and put them on the sex offender list so that 20 years from know when they're in their 30's we call all freak out on halloween and keep our children safely away from their houses.

    I support this idea.

     

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  60.  
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    Joseph Durnal, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    A few comments

    ...victim of the crime are the same person...
    Most states have laws against suicide, wouldn't that be the same thing?

    If the pictures are not illegal, why doesn't the ACLU post them on their web site?

    You don't really have 4th amendment rights in school

     

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  61.  
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    Joseph Durnal, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:24am

    another comment

    I can't form a solid opinion on the legality. I would say that these child child porn (or what ever you want to call it) producers should face some consequences, but the under 16 first time offender crowd should probably be handled in the juvenile system with their records sealed. Let's face it, kids make mistakes, they need to learn from them, but suffering from them for 10 or 20 years isn't likely in anyone's best interest.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    by Weird Harold - Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Bob, seriously, if there is one topic I am VERY VERY well versed in...


    Weird Harold being very very well versed in kiddie porn laws. Now there's a surprise.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    The problem is not the prosecutors, the problem is the law, The law says these kids are child pornographers.

    Apparently it doesn't, since the charges were baseless. If you actually bothered to read the article you would have seen that the images weren't nude or sexual, and didn't meet the state's definition of porn. Hence the lawsuit.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    That's a bold faced lie. The prosecutor absolutely has a choice in what they pursue.

    Agreed, which is why the county prosecutor is typically an elected official.

     

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  65.  
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    Jesse, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Child porn laws are meant to protect children, not send them to jail. How is that so hard to understand????

     

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  66.  
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    Jesse, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    This law makes about as much sense as outlawing suicide. These people don't need a criminal record and jailtime, they need help. Of course it shouldn't be illegal! How the hell is jailtime going to help them or society???

     

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  67.  
    icon
    PT (profile), Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    How they do things in PA

    In another interesting twist, Wyoming County PA is adjacent to Luzerne County, of which it was formerly a part. So what, I hear you ask. Well, in February, two judges in Luzerne County pleaded guilty to running a scam from 2003 to 2008 whereby they sentenced juveniles for trivial offenses to lengthy terms at private juvenile detention facilities, in return for kickbacks from said facilities.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/13/us/13judge.html?ref=us

    I wonder whether a private company provided the counseling service the teens in this case were coerced into. I think we should be told.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 10:58am

    "It's not retarded. 13 year old takes her own pictures nudes, sexts them to her boyfriend, who shows them to his older brother for a laugh. Older brother gets a copy, and puts them on the internet, where molesters get their jollies check out a 13 year old nude.

    CP is a serious issue, and regardless of source, action needs to be taken to stop it. The kids doing this crap need to understand the implications."
    -WH

    And at the end of the day who is the victim of the crime? How can you have a crime without a victim? The whole point of CP laws are that they are meant to protect children not prosecute them. Again, it is not the immorality of the nude body that is the motivation of the law. CP laws are to prevent exploitation. They were not exploited here.

    I agree, they must be taught that their actions will have serious repercussions, if not legal ones. Prosecution is not the way to do it.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    DiskEyes, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Re: PROTECT THE CHILDREN! PROTECT THE CHILDREN!

    Parents of teens - please take note! Teachable moment here! Talk with your children about this. All legalities aside, the potential consequences from misuse (lecherous and otherwise) of these images can be life altering! Protect your children!

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    "Can you provide me a list of good uses for pictures of naked 13 year olds?"
    -WH

    I'm picking on your cause you're the most fun to debate with :)

    That's not the point. Who is saying that pictures of naked 13yos are useful? The point is, the defendant=the plaintiff. Two seats in the court room, one person. You don't prosecute the person who the law is made to protect. These sort of twisted interpretations of the law make sense only in places like Iran or Saudi Arabia, where, for example, victims of rape are found guilty of adultery and two women are the legal equivalent of one man.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    PT/67 - Agreed. Sounds like there is a lot more to this than the facts reported on.

     

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  72.  
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    SRS, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    ...

    Does anyone else find it a little odd that kids under 18 can have consensual sex with one another.. can get pregnant and have kids.. can get married in some states.. but god forbid they take a photo of themselves without a shirt on for another minor to see.

    IMO.. Minors who consensually take/share it with another minor should not face ANY type of criminal charges. Do you really think a girl who is 14 who takes a picture of herself for her BF to see, who doesn't know it is illegal, should be branded a sex offender for her life? That is pure insanity.

    Now.. Any adults who possess the pictures should face charges. And any adult who is somehow involved in the picture taking or forcing of the picture taking should be dealt with very severely.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Kudo, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Control

    This is about Gov control,
    children are wards of the state and gov now,
    people need to wake up!

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Stephen, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Woah woah woah woah woah... I am in Houston.. Do you have a link to that?


    by Anonymous Coward - Mar 27th, 2009 @ 8:41am
    >>

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Stephen, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re: A few comments

    I doubt the girls or parents of the girls would want the pictures and the faces of their children associated with the lawsuit and/or charges. If I had any kids I sure would not want every stranger to be able to identify them as as they are walking down the street as the hot (semi)naked chick. Too many perverts. I'm surprised the kids names are listed.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Jack Sombra, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Would you feel different if her boyfriend was 19? "
    In regards to child pron debate? No would feel no different, especially towards the girl.

    Would have some opinions about the boy though

    "Give them a hole like this, and they will suddenly claim that every picture they have was sent to them by a 13 year old that took the pictures herself, somehow making it okay."
    Once again you are totally missing the point, this is not about protecting the pedo's, this is about the state saying the children are their own victims. It's like arresting someone assault and battery...because they beat themselves up

    "SHe did what she did, and there is a law against it. What more needs to be said?"
    The law was designed to protect children, not to make criminals out of them. As some people are using it those ends a lot more need to be said

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Stephen, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:36am

    Think the prosecutor would consider this illegal?

    Think the prosecutor would consider this illegal? Would he file charges against the band? or RCA? I wonder if the prosecutor gets disgusted going to an art museum? Hmm... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Killer (That link is not exactly safe for work... Reading further explains why) Scorpions' 1974 album cover for Virgin Killer. The original cover art for the album depicted a naked ten-year-old girl named Jaqueline,[10] with a shattered glass crack effect obscuring her genitals. The image was designed by Steffan Böhle,[11] who was then the product manager for RCA Records.[9] Francis Buchholz was the bassist for the band and, in an interview conducted in early 2007, recollects that the model depicted on the cover was either the daughter or the niece of "the guy who did the cover design."

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Gaspar, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Re:

    Its called the First Amendment to the Constitution:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Stated simply, One's own body has long been a form of self expression.

    I highly doubt any case will hold up that prevents someone from taking pictures of them selfs for any reason. I will stipulate that some local courts or even Stat appellate courts may hold it up, but the case will eventually be won by the teen on appeal.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    SANDBOX, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:48am

    Re:

    There is something to protect children from this actually.. in a backwards kind of way. The same laws that protect a child from being exploited could be used to argue that they are merely minors and therefore, could not understand that what they were doing is wrong, as they were minors.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Woah woah woah woah woah... I am in Houston.. Do you have a link to that?

    It's been pretty widely reported. Here are a couple of links.

    Houston police chief wants cameras on homes, streets

    Houston Police Chief Wants Surveillance Cameras In Private Homes

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Art, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed, but they don't need to be prosecuted for distributing child pornography nor forced to register for life in a sex crimes database if they are convicted or if they plead out.

    Even if these girls had been nude and touching themselves and had sent the photos to their boyfriends to arouse them it should not be considered child pornography, because child pornography involves victimization or exploitation.

    What this should be considered I don't know. A sad, depressing, statement on society and parenting at the least. In the end though, this is merely a combination of ignorance, immaturity and exploration and should be treated as such.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Vendetta, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    Re: Victims of child porn

    (An insightful question on techdirt? How did that happen!) Definitely worth looking into... Anyone?

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's like arresting someone assault and battery...because they beat themselves up

    You ought to rent the movie "Fight Club" sometime.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Considering that he appears to run a few porn sites himself...

    Huh? Where did you get that?

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Lorenzo, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    @Weird Harold

    Does this mean this child should be put on a sex offenders list and barred from being near public schools or babysitting other children?

    How much jail time would be appropriate for taking pictures of yourself?

     

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  86.  
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    Billiam, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    What is it?

    What child pornography is can be a difficult thing for some to identify. There are too many stupid, scared, or prudish people. That can't be helped other than to err in a way that doesn't punish the questionably innocent. What can be help is that group of people that want to bend the definitions to always suit their purposes.

    I'm reminded of the following. Every few years a headlining rape case will come up and feminists galore will appear on tv extoling the horrors of rape and highlighting that rape isn't a crime of sex, but of violence. Then, two days or two weeks later, you'll hear some of those same feminists giving speaches where they call all women victims or potential victims because they have vaginas and all men rapists or potential rapists because they have penises.

    Somehow these feminists "forget" that rape is a crime of violence and they ignore that many rapes don't involve penises or even men.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Jurisdiction

    These girls are being charged under Pennsylvania law, not federal law.

    Umm, no. According to the article, they haven't been charged at all.

    Perhaps you should pay a little more attention...

    Perhaps you should too?

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You have to understand that these are the same zealots that tout that breast feeding in public is identical to performing a sex act in public. They act like breast feeding is a new thing, but it has been around since the dawn of mammals.

    These people also think that taking pics of your young kids in the bath and streaking through your house is kiddie porn.

    Mr DA, Just because these things may inspire dirty thoughts in the minds of the maladjusted and the adolescent, does not mean they are all bad. Sometimes you just have to take them at face value... just pictures.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Even if these girls had been nude and touching themselves and had sent the photos to their boyfriends to arouse them it should not be considered child pornography, because child pornography involves victimization or exploitation."

    The law basically holds that underage persons are not capable of consenting to sex. Some people claim that's just a legal fiction, but fiction or not it's still the law. So according to the law, these kids are victimizing and exploiting themselves and so they need to be protected from themselves. The law does this, supposedly, by threatening them with punishment. Basically, our society has decided that it would be better for an underage person to be convicted and punished as a sex offender than allowed to engage in sexual behavior.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re:

    The point of child porn laws is to prevent exploitation of children. If you charge a child with taking a nude picture of them self, then you are saying someone is able to exploit them self.

    Now that does not make sense.


    There are lots of to keep people from harming themselves. The drug laws are one example. Some people claim that those don't make sense either.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So I guess your answer to "are that fucking stupid" is "yes I am" Mr Harold? Seems to me that you are all for ruining someone's life over something as stupid as this. No one here is talking about 18+ year olds. This case doesn't involve anyone over that age either. We're talking about 13yo's and ruining their lives before they start. You must be one mean spirited bastard. God forbid you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law and actually get that karma back onto you.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    The exception is called common sense. To interpret this law in this manner results in a legal paradox whereby the both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime are the same person.
    Why is that a problem? That's the way the drug laws work.
    If this girl had been caught masturbating, would it also be appropriate to charge her with sexual assault on a minor? After all, the law that crminializes sexual assault makes no exception for self-assault, so according to your logic, every teen who does it should be a felon and a sex offender.
    Legally, yes. The problem is catching them.
    And more to the point, all these laws were supposedly passed to "protect the children". The hysteria has now reached the point where we're prosecuting the children and marking them as felons and sex offenders for life in order to protect them. How much sense does that make?
    Not much to me, but I seem to be in the politically incorrect minority these days.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re:

    AMEN! Bout time someone stated the obvious. People like WH would have the Gov't running every aspect of our lives because apparently we don't know how. It's one thing if the parents of these kids didn't take care of the situation. But at least give them a chance to discipline their own children.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    I highly doubt any case will hold up that prevents someone from taking pictures of them selfs for any reason. I will stipulate that some local courts or even Stat appellate courts may hold it up, but the case will eventually be won by the teen on appeal.

    The courts have already held, all the way up to the Supreme Court, that child pornography is not protected by any constitutional rights. You lose.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The job of the courts is not to enforce the word of law, but the intent. This is not something that even a lawyer can change. Somehow I doubt you're an attorney, but I wonder about your familiarity with the word of child porn laws...

     

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  96.  
    identicon
    Adam, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    When you have kids and are prosecuted for possession of child pornography for taking pictures of them in the bath, I hope you go to jail for a very long time. You won't be able to cite a statute to save yourself. The difference that you don't see is that there is no exploitation or coercion involved in these cases.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Adam, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    I submit

    for your consideration:

    http://xkcd.com/194/

    This could apply to the other gender just as well.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You've again missed the point. The child isn't the perv. The one drooling over them is, and is the one that should be arrested. Seriously, are you that starved for attention that you're going to use the 'think of the children' defense for yourself, now?

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    Child porn laws are meant to protect children, not send them to jail. How is that so hard to understand????

    People are sent to jail for their own good all the time.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Jurisdiction

    > > These girls are being charged under
    > > Pennsylvania law, not federal law.

    > Umm, no. According to the article, they
    > haven't been charged at all.

    Umm, no. According to the Pennsylvania DA, they've been offered a plea in lieu of prosecution. They've rejected the plea, hence prosecution. The fact that formal charging documents haven't been served yet is irrelevant. The process of prosecution has started.

    > > Perhaps you should pay a little more
    > > attention...

    > Perhaps you should too?

    Nope. No need. I wasn't wrong.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Law

    > The job of the courts is not to enforce
    > the word of law, but the intent.

    Actually, that's exactly the opposite. The written statute is controlling. Legislative intent can be taken into consideration but if it conflicts with the actual code section, then the code controls.

    > Somehow I doubt you're an attorney

    Whether he is an attorney or not, I am and you're mistaken.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    > That's the way the drug laws work.

    No, that's not the way the drug laws work. When a person is arrested for selling drugs, the victim is not himself. When a person is arrested for possessing/using drugs, the victim is not himself.

    However, the victims of child porn-- as defined by both statute and Supreme Court precedent-- are the children depicted in the images in question.

    > Legally, yes.

    Actually, legally no. To suggest otherwise is a legal absurdity and the only reason I brought it up was to illustrate it as such. The idea that any teenager who touches (or even looks at) his/her own body is a sex predator is nonsense of the purest ray serene, both legally and sociologically.

    > The problem is catching them.

    Not a problem at all. Parents catch their kids doing it all the time. It's so common as to have become the staple of dozens of comedies (American Pie, Porkys, etc.). And since adults are legally required to report child abuse upon pain of being charged with a felony themselves... if your view of the law were true, it seems like we ouught to be educating parents on their responsibility to turn in their children should they be caught looking at themselves in the shower or staying in that bathroom too long. Right?

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re: ...

    Does anyone else find it a little odd that kids under 18 can have consensual sex with one another..

    There is a lower age at which that is illegal in most states.

    Some people are always clamoring for more and stricter laws. For example, here in Texas it used to be legal for 14 year olds to get married. I even went to school with a guy who married a 14 yo girl when he was 15. But due to popular sentiment they changed the law a few years ago and that would now be illegal. I think the minimum age is now 16 and some want to raise it to 18 or 21. The argument is that getting married and raising kids entails at least as much responsibility as drinking a beer. So if you're too young to have a beer then you're certainly too young to have kids.

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    Re:

    I'm sorry, while i don't support CP, I think a 13/14 year old knows what sexual desire is, and wants to explore it.

    So, are you saying that people should be allowed to do whatever they "want"? I thought that was precisely what laws were intended to prevent.

    you can't stop them from doing what they biologically want to do.

    Maybe not, but you can try.

    Now if this girl was taking pics of herself with the intent of trying to lure older men into doing something they shouldn't, then there is a problem.

    What about younger boys?

    Teens have been doing this sort of thing in one form or another for a very long time.

    People have been doing all sorts of things for a very long time (murder, etc.), but that generally isn't an excuse.

     

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  105.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Precedent

    > The courts have already held, all the way
    > up to the Supreme Court, that child pornography
    > is not protected by any constitutional rights.
    > You lose.

    The Supreme Court has also held that mere nudity does not qualify as pornography. Weird Harold's cited statutes to the contrary. If those statutes are ever challenged, it's unlikely they'd survive constitutional muster, given the precedent that's already on the books.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Re: What is it?

    "Somehow these feminists "forget" that rape is a crime of violence and they ignore that many rapes don't involve penises or even men."

    Ever notice how you never hear these feminists complaining about all the men getting raped in prison? All they ever seem to want to do is put more men there.

     

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  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re:

    This is where you explain why not.

     

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  108.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    Re: The problem is not the prosecutors

    > The problem is not the prosecutors, the
    > problem is the law, The law says these
    > kids are child pornographers.

    Actually, the law at issue here (the Pennnsylvania Penal Code) says no such thing.

    It requires that the picture be of a minor with genitals exposed (which is in none of the pictures in question) or feature nudity combined with a sexual setting or pose. (One picture has no nudity at all. The other has bare breasts but the setting is distinctly non-sexual, so it doesn't qualify either.)

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Jurisdiction

    Nope. No need. I wasn't wrong.

    Just can't admit it, eh? I think a lot of people are laughing at you right about now.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    No, that's not the way the drug laws work. When a person is arrested for selling drugs, the victim is not himself. When a person is arrested for possessing/using drugs, the victim is not himself.
    That's exactly the way some of the drug laws work. A person can manufacture and posses certain drugs (even alcohol) without the involvement of any other person and still be convicted of a crime. If no other person is involved then the only possible victim is the person himself. You don't seem like a very knowledgeable lawyer if you aren't aware of that.
    Actually, legally no. To suggest otherwise is a legal absurdity and the only reason I brought it up was to illustrate it as such.
    Then perhaps the law is absurd but it is still the law. Sometimes lawyers seem to have a difficult time admitting that the very law they practice can be absurd. I guess I can understand that.
    Not a problem at all. Parents catch their kids doing it all the time.
    I was actually thinking about law enforcement when I wrote that.
    And since adults are legally required to report child abuse upon pain of being charged with a felony themselves... if your view of the law were true, it seems like we ouught to be educating parents on their responsibility to turn in their children should they be caught looking at themselves in the shower or staying in that bathroom too long. Right?
    Oh brother, there you go giving them more ideas for prosecution.

     

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  111.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Precedent

    The Supreme Court has also held that mere nudity does not qualify as pornography.

    True. That's why I specified "child pornography". This was in response to a claim that "pictures of them selfs for any reason" would be protected by the constitution, which would include CP.

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "This is where you explain why not."

    I thought "No" was pretty succinct. The poster asked about the existence of a law that, as far as I know, does not exist. If you would like to cite such a law then be my guest and I will learn something.

     

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  113.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: I Propose

    Yep. By the cops.

    You know, I remember reading the federal law outlawing possession of child porn many years ago and noting that not only did Congress exempt law enforcement but they exempted themselves as well. Interesting, no?

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    Re: I submit

    Uh oh. The subject of that cartoon doesn't appear to be wearing any clothes. In addition, the lack of development of breasts and genitalia would seem to indicate that the character is prepubescent. And the subject is discussing genitalia, which would seem to give the work a sexual theme. Combine those elements together and you have a clear violation of federal child pornography laws (which apply even to drawings in which no actual children were involved). Now I don't know if it is illegal to link to kiddy porn in the US, but I think Techdirt should probably yank that link right away to be on the safe side.

     

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  115.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: I submit

    Excuse me while I go scrub the browser cache off my hard drive now. I wonder how many times I need to overwrite it? I hope my ISP doesn't have a record of me accessing that image.

     

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  116.  
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    bd_, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re:

    @Chronno:

    Charging someone with child porn-related charges puts a black spot on their record for life. Even if we decide taking a picture of oneself should be prevented, it's counterproductive to ruin a child's adult life for the ostensible purpose of protecting them from themselves...

     

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  117.  
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    Dan, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    A bra is porn?

    Why is a bra porn and a bikini not porn. I would guess that most bras expose less then most bikinis. This is a limp case at best and a stupid prosecutor trying to push a personal agenda by baseless threats. He should be sued for frivolous persecution and disbarred. This is a gross perversion of official powers and should be punished severely.

     

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  118.  
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    The Square Root of Jello, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    I cite Adam vs. Eve (circa yr 1) nudity does not equal pornography. It is the creator's preferred state for his beings. We are all sent into this world nekkid.

    But enough of the religious hoo-ha. This country needs to get over itself. Kids being foolish and harming no one - shrug it off. Will we be arresting skinny dippers at watering holes and making them register as sex offenders next - because someone drafted a law?

     

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  119.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2009 @ 9:03pm

    Our Elected Representatives

    This is what you get when you let women vote and politicians begin to pander to them.

     

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  120.  
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    PJ, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 12:09am

    Re:

    @ Ima Fish

    "If you accept that child porn is illegal, (I'm not saying it should or should not be, that's simply irrelevant) than it simply does not matter who created the child porn. Whether it was a 40 year old guy taking pictures of his 13 year old daughter. Or the daughter taking pictures of herself. There is simply no exception under the law for self-created child porn."

    If you truly believe what you just said(that taking nude pictures of ones self can be child pornography), then society is doomed. Children have the same right to their own body as adults. True, they should be discouraged from publishing photographs of themselves naked, but criminalising nudity for those underage is only feasibly possible if you also criminalise it for those over the age of consent. Otherwise, you are labeling as a sexual deviant someone merely based on the fact that they are by any normal measure NOT legally as responsible for their actions as the standard citizen. This is an absolute perversion of judicial standards in society.

     

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  121.  
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    zushigreg, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 2:07am

    unaccountable responsibility

    She is a minor. Minor's are protected by child porn laws because they cannot give their consent for sexual activity. So, how can she be accountable for posting what she is unaccountable for appearing in? Either she is a minor deserving protection, or she is an adult who can consent to being photographed. You can't have it both ways!

     

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  122.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Jurisdiction

    > Just can't admit it, eh? I think a lot of people are laughing
    > at you right about now.

    Since you apparently have no actual rebuttal, you're resorting to ad hominem attacks. Of the two of us, I'm not the one being laughed at, Sally.

     

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  123.  
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    BTR1701, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    >That's exactly the way some of the drug laws work.

    No, it's not the way they work.

    > A person can manufacture and posses certain drugs (even
    > alcohol) without the involvement of any other person and
    > still be convicted of a crime.

    Yes.

    > If no other person is involved then the only possible
    > victim is the person himself.

    No. The various legislatures have defined society as the victim in drug offenses. Drug trafficking increases crime, poverty, homelessness, violence, overdoses, etc. Therefore manufacturing, selling or possessing those substances contributes to the overall problem.

    Now I don't necessarily agree with that reasoning-- the cities where drug use has been legalized seem to argue against it to a certain extent-- but that doesn't change the fact that the law does not consider the lone drug dealer cooking up crystal meth in his basement as the victim of his own crime when he gets busted.

    However, the law (both statute and common law) *does* consider the minor depicted in the images in question to be the victim in a child porn prosecution.

    > You don't seem like a very knowledgeable lawyer if you
    > aren't aware of that.

    Actually, I'm apparently more aware of the technical details of criminal law than you seem to be.

    > Then perhaps the law is absurd but it is still the law.

    The law itself does not require arresting a teenager for looking at him/herself in the mirror naked, nor does it require felony prosecution for masturbation. Period. If you think it does, cite me any compelling legal authority to support that notion.

     

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  124.  
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    J.Lee, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Silliness

    FUCK the anal retentive asshole prosecutors! Sue him? Bullshit, make it a little more permanent!
    These young people are just teens doing what they have always done. ...Being teens! Why brand them for life with fucked up airhead religious bullshit morals charges.

    It's always about lawyers getting involved, I prefer GUNS!
    You will get NO justice in America, go out and make your own!

     

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  125.  
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    Davidwr, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Law of unintended consequences: Charges may be filed?

    If I were the prosecutor, I might say "This was not an empty threat. In light of the pending lawsuit, I am withdrawing my offer and proceeding with charges."

    He may not get a conviction, but that will moot any lawsuit that claims the charges were an empty threat.

     

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  126.  
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    davidwr, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Seriously, porn laws need to be reformed

    When a minor gives pictures of himself to an adult, there's no victim.

    When a minor gives pictures of himself to another minor close in age, the only "victim" is the recipient, the same as if an 18-year-old gives pictures of himself to 17-year-old. If you are close enough in age to have sexual relations, you are close enough in age to show each other nude photos of yourself.

    Sending nude photos of other people that haven't been widely circulated without their permission is a violation of privacy and should be treated as such by the law. This applies regardless of the age of the person in the picture.

    People should be labeled as sex offenders NOT based ONLY on the crimes they committed, but on the crimes they committed plus the likelihood of committing sex crimes in the future. For most teenagers, once they get the fear of God knocked into them, they won't repeat their mistake.

    The law needs to change to address this.

     

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  127.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re:

    If you truly believe what you just said(that taking nude pictures of ones self can be child pornography), then society is doomed.

    I think Ima Fish was intending to make a statement there about the law, not of belief. If you don't believe it is true then I suggest that you actually go read the applicable laws. These are the laws that are passed by the representatives that society has chosen to represent it. Yeah, we have a screwy society driven more by notions of political-correctness than logic.

     

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  128.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    No. The various legislatures have defined society as the victim in drug offenses.
    A "society" requires more than one person. If only one person is involved then clearly "society" isn't. Likewise a law declaring that "the earth is flat" or that "evolution does not exist" would not make it so either, because even a legal fiction is still a fiction.
    Drug trafficking...
    Gee, that kind of involves more than one person, now doesn't it? What's the matter, couldn't think up any appropriate examples?
    Actually, I'm apparently more aware of the technical details of criminal law than you seem to be.
    No, from what you've presented so far, I'd say apparently not.
    The law itself does not require arresting a teenager for looking at him/herself in the mirror naked,
    I never said it did. Is a straw-man the best you can do?
    nor does it require felony prosecution for masturbation. Period. If you think it does, cite me any compelling legal authority to support that notion.
    Here you go, chief.
    The very first place I looked, this is what I came up with:
    ==========================================================
    Texas Penal Code, Section 22.011(e)

    Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT.

    (a) A person commits an offense if the person:

    (1) intentionally or knowingly:

    (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent;

    (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent; or

    (C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

    (2) intentionally or knowingly:

    (A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;

    (B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;

    (C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;

    (D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

    (E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
    .
    .
    .
    (d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that the conduct consisted of medical care for the child and did not include any contact between the anus or sexual organ of the child and the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of the actor or a third party.

    (e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that:

    (1) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:

    (A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or

    (B) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and

    (2) the victim:

    (A) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and

    (B) was not a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

    (f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

    ===============================================================================

    Notice that while the phrase "another person" is used in many places, this phrase is conspicuously absent in (a)(2)(A) so that it applies even if "another person" is not involved. Also notice that this would only apply to masturbation that involved some sort of penetration. Texas has a long history involving the criminalization of masturbation involving penetration and since 1973 it had been illegal to even sell dildos in Texas. (The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that statute on February 12, 2008. Texas may appeal.) Texas does not seem to be too concerned with little boys wanking thier willies though as long as they don't insert anything in their anus (that might be seen as homosexual and Texas "don't go for that stuff"). Likewise, little girls seem to be allowed to masturbate too these days (see how modern Texas has become with equal rights for boys and girls?) as long as they don't insert anything in their "anus or sexual organ". But if they insert something, it becomes a felony. Also note that under the listed defenses to prosecution it is NOT listed as a defense that the actor and the child are the same person.

    Like I said, this is just what I quickly came up with the first place I looked. And you, claiming to be a lawyer, are acting like you couldn't find anything like this.

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Flawed Logic

    And here's a little more:

    "The State of Texas argued that the state has the right to regulate morality: "The state also argued in a brief that Texas has legitimate “morality based” reasons for the laws, which include “discouraging prurient interests in autonomous sex and the pursuit of sexual gratification unrelated to procreation.”"

    I found that with a quick look on Wikipedia. It sure sounds to me like the state justifying its anti-masturbation laws. Are you sure that you're a lawyer, BTR1701? And you couldn't even find what I did? If so then you must be of the lousiest lawyers I have ever come across.

     

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  130.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    So, are you saying that people should be allowed to do whatever they "want"?

    If they are not doing anything to harm others, then yes absolutely. If the people involved are sane and consenting (i.e. without improper influences, etc.) then they should be allowed to do whatever they please so long as they are not harming others.

    A teen taking a picture of themself and sending it to another who is open to receiving that image (or who has the choice to delete before being exposed to it) is harming NO ONE.

     

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  131.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    Re: A few comments

    When it comes to suicide laws, I can understand it being illegal from the aspect of "harm others by leaving your mess behind" (financial, legal, physical and emotional messes).

    But I simply do not understand the practicality of having laws stopping people who have been properly counseled and still decide they want to commit suicide (with their affairs in order).

    Are we making it illegal to stop non-sane people from killing themselves? That makes no sense.

    Besides, it is only those that fail who can be charged...

     

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  132.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, are you saying that people should be allowed to do whatever they "want"?
    If they are not doing anything to harm others, then yes absolutely.


    Well, you might be the kind of parent that would let your little kids have sex each other (or even you), get drunk, shoot heroin, or whatever, but I can assure you that society as a whole disagrees with you. You are a very good example of why we have laws, even for parents.

     

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  133.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You lump "having sex" with "shooting heroin"???

    Seriously?

    And, seriously, if we didn't have laws against most street drugs, then we'd likely have far FEWER problems around the drug industry. Yes, there will be addicts; there will ALWAYS be addicts. But if it wasn't criminalized, we wouldn't have the street gang violence. This is the REAL problem with the war on drugs: rather than helping the addicts, it makes way more individuals victims (exploitation of young, unsafe neighbourhoods, etc.)

    I don't think that two adolescence following where their natural hormonal instincts are taking them is inline with organized crime. But you can still have your say at the polling booth.

     

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  134.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You lump "having sex" with "shooting heroin"???
    Seriously?


    You did by saying that kids should be able to do whatever they want. You keep making these outrageous statements that you then try to back away from. That tells me that you don't even believe the crap you're spouting off. If you won't even stick by your words, then why should anyone give a rat's ass what you have to say. In other words, it's obvious that you're just a troll willing to say anything to get a reaction. Well, I think it's time to quit feeding you now.

     

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  135.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are mixing two different concepts I am getting at.

    First, I said that there is no place for "society" (specifically the government, though I'd throw in any body that claims to have authority over my community such as a religious organization) to restrict behaviours on individuals that do not cause any harm to others.

    Second I am saying that when it comes to younger individuals, punitive laws are not the way to bring about desired behaviour when it comes to actions that cause no harm to others.

    You seem to have a hang up on the term "sex". Why do you think that the government has any role in my affairs (or that of my children) when it comes to sex? What is so unnatural about "sex" that we need to be policing such affairs?

     

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  136.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: I submit

    Just overwrite it once with zeros, Scrubbing is outdated and has no benefit besides shortening the lifespan of your drive.

    you ISP probably does have a record of the image going to your house, but they can't prove who accessed it. So the state won't be able to charge anyone with a crime because they can prove who is actually guilty.

     

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  137.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Laws and morality should not match 100%, There are millions of people in America who think alcohol and tobacco is just as immoral as having sex outside of marriage or doing drugs. should we make laws saying that sex is illegal unless you're married and outlaw Alcohol and tobacco while we're at it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  138.  
    identicon
    anon, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    manufacturing maybe, but possession? Wouldn't all kids be guilty if this since they are effectively nude underneath their clothes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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