New Mexico Attorney General Would Rather See Sexting Teens Treated As Sex Offenders Than See His Funding 'Jeopardized'

from the christ,-what-an-asshole dept

Teens sexting can't be addressed by existing laws. Law enforcement -- which far too often chooses to involve itself in matters best left to parents -- bends child pornography laws to "fit" the crime. They often state they're only doing this to save kids from the harm that might result by further distribution of explicit photos. How exactly turning a teen into a child pornographer who must add his or herself to the sex offender registries is less harmful than the imagined outcomes cited by law enforcement is never explained.

Over in New Mexico, legislators are making an honest attempt to keep sexting teens from being treated like sex offenders. And it's law enforcement that's leading the opposition to the proposed changes. The bill would continue to uphold harsh penalties for actual child pornographers while decriminalizing sexting between teens.

The New Mexico Attorney General is having none of it, as Reason's Robby Soave reports:

"I cannot support an amendment that weakens protections for teenagers from predatory activity, creates a dangerous new child exploitation loophole, and places New Mexico's federal Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force funding in jeopardy,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas in a statement, according to the Alamogordo Daily News.
This statement is not only ridiculous, but it shows the AG is more interested in budget lines than the future of teens who do the sort of things teens are inevitably going to do. Balderas is explicitly stating that he's willing to sacrifice young lives in order to secure his task force's funding. That's just sickening. In Balderas' world, sexting teens are nothing more than a revenue stream.

As Soave points out, the legislation still contains harsh punishments for child pornographers and does nothing to create a "loophole" for accused offenders. What it would do is keep teens from being charged for exchanging explicit photos with their peers by carving out an exception for photos exchanged by teens ages 14-17.

There's nothing logical about applying sexual predator/child pornography laws in this way. But Balderas has helpfully explained why many law enforcement officials are more than happy to do exactly that. There's good money in chasing down child pornographers -- a criminal act reviled by a majority of their constituents. Anything that might jeopardize these funds -- like treating sexting teens as a disciplinary/educational problem rather than a criminal one -- is to be rejected out of hand.

Soave notes Balderas was so incensed by this threat to his funding that he and his staff walked out of the hearing in a show of outrageously stupid, callously self-centered solidarity. Balderas may want to play hardball with child pornographers, but he's also shown he's more than willing to fuck a few kids himself when there's money on the line.

Filed Under: funding, hector balderas, law enforcement, new mexico, sex offenders, sexting


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  • icon
    S. T. Stone (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 2:10pm

    Balderas may want to play hardball with child pornographers, but he's also shown he's more than willing to fuck a few kids himself when there's money on the line.

    WOW. That…that isn’t something you read on Techdirt every day.

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

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 9 Mar 2016 @ 2:28pm

    Hey Tim

    Tell us what you really think of these arseholes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 2:28pm

    I've got 20 bucks that says one day Balderas will be busted for pedophilia and child rape. Sociopaths like this who make a big deal out of insignificant issues often turn out to be some of the most vicious serial abusers.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:14pm

      Re:

      Just like the police officer that insisted on obtaining a pornographic picture of the teenager accused of sending pictures of himself. I'm sure he doesn't see how much harm he is doing to everyone involved. I think it might be best to do a computer scan of all electronics he has access too to ensure that he isn't abusing his position for immoral purposes directly. Oh yeah that first guy I mentioned, had tons of Child Porn on his home computer.

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

      • icon
        Oblate (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 5:50am

        Re: Re:

        it might be best to do a computer scan of all electronics he has access too to ensure that he isn't abusing his position for immoral purposes directly

        This is how you make a law enforcement official stop complaining about how evil encryption is.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 7:55pm

      Re:

      Go read policemisconduct.net/

      Pretty much every single day there's a police officer or bureaucrat found to have child porn or have assaulted a child

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

  • icon
    David (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:12pm

    Screwing kids to save the cash flow.

    Well said, well said.

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

  • identicon
    Digitari, 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:20pm

    well..

    It's not like kids that age can vote, So whats the harm right?


    (Screamin fuckin eagles protecting children)

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

  • identicon
    Robert, 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:21pm

    Dangerous Territory

    Got to be careful about giving some children too much power. How long does a questionable photo have to exist on an adults phone for that adult to be charge with a major crime.
    Any student could bring down any adult by the simply act of that child sending that adult a photo.
    Most children would not but there are definitely some that would.

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

    • icon
      Kal Zekdor (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 5:12pm

      Re: Dangerous Territory

      The bar would likely be whether there was any solicitation on the part of the adult. Mens rea and all that.

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

      • icon
        sigalrm (profile), 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:22pm

        Re: Re: Dangerous Territory

        Legally speaking, yes, probably.

        But if that individual is associated with, say, education or works with kids in any way, an accusation/investigation is often sufficient to destroy the individual's career, family life, etc.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 1:03pm

      Re: Dangerous Territory

      "Any student could bring down any adult by the simply act of that child sending that adult a photo.
      Most children would not but there are definitely some that would."

      Let's hope one that would reads this...

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

    • icon
      Lois M (profile), 11 Mar 2016 @ 6:10am

      Re: Dangerous Territory

      As I see it, the bill exempts 14 to 17 year-olds from sending such pictures to EACH OTHER, not setting up older teens and adults for prosecution. However, it would make sense to exempt anyone who could legally have sex with these teens from prosecution for receiving pictures of the younger teens, and the crime should not be a sex crime, requiring registration, under any circumstances. Perhaps setting up an older adult could be prosecuted as false accusation or something similar.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 4:29pm

    At least he is being honest with his motivations. So will the state go up in arms over a blatant admission of being more interested in money then service soon?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 5:33pm

    Justice: Serving the truth

    When it comes to justice, the truth always comes out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 6:07pm

    Once it becomes the norm, it will mean nothing

    When every teen becomes a sex offender, we will see a whole generation growing up to not think of a sex offence as a big deal. This is what they are doing by busting anyone and everyone.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Mar 2016 @ 7:24pm

    Silly rabbit...

    Kiddy porn is for kids!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 12:15am

    Balderas fucks kids?

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 3:41am

    So we destroy the children... for the children! And budget increments. So the question is actually what is worse: destroying the kids lives through sexual abuse or insane law enforcement?

    I'd say both are equally hideous.

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

    • identicon
      David, 10 Mar 2016 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      Why choose if you can have both? Isn't that what the U.S. prison system is about?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      So we destroy the children... for the children!

      Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it.

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

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 4:05pm

      Re:

      "So the question is actually what is worse: destroying the kids lives through sexual abuse or insane law enforcement?"

      There is no equivalence in this case. Sexting is not "sexual abuse" and the potential for long-term harm to minors from sexting is far less than the harm from being forcefully dragged through the legal system and coming out the other side as a registered sex offender.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 7:04am

    Hector Balderas is a fucking scumbag.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 7:24am

    I heard about this on the radio in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago. Balderas' specific gripe with the issue is he thinks the law can be construed to say that if someone is caught with child porn, but a minor actually created it, then the person in possession of it can't be charged and the creation of the image/video can't be legally investigated. I haven't read the text of the amended law in detail so I can't say if he's right or not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      Balderas' specific gripe with the issue is he thinks the law can be construed to say that if someone is caught with child porn, but a minor actually created it, then the person in possession of it can't be charged and the creation of the image/video can't be legally investigated.

      So, he's saying someone can't be charged with creating something they didn't create? That sounds reasonable to me.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re:

        So, he's saying someone can't be charged with creating something they didn't create?

        No, he's saying they can't be charged with anything, including possession.

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 10 Mar 2016 @ 8:30am

    Go figure

    My opinion is sex crime is big business for the USA government that's why its going international now. I am willing to bet the states make more off the child porn then the pornographers through the giant system they set up to punish them and to also satisfy the public's hunger for vengeance. Its not like they actually care about kids they made it legal to kill them after all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 9:38am

    though of course when it comes down to those same officers and officials being charged fro breaking those very same laws they are exempted from any charges or repurcussions.

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

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:07am

    Age limit

    What it would do is keep teens from being charged for exchanging explicit photos with their peers by carving out an exception for photos exchanged by teens ages 14-17.

    Kids younger than 14 should still be charged as sex offenders? Or are they already exempt?

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

  • icon
    edincleve (profile), 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:33am

    I knew after reading this article that Mr Balderas is a Democrat.

    The reason of course, is because his political party was not mentioned. Party affiliation is only mentioned when the politician criticized is a Republican.

    That is no different than most other journalist, though.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Mar 2016 @ 10:42am

    Huh?

    What it would do is keep teens from being charged for exchanging explicit photos with their peers by carving out an exception for photos exchanged by teens ages 14-17.

    Let me get this straight. It would be illegal for someone under 14 to distribute kiddy porn. Then, for a period of 4 years of their life (age 14 - 17), it would suddenly become legal for them to do so. Then, upon turning 18, it would just as suddenly become illegal again.

    Sounds pretty screwy to me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2016 @ 8:07pm

    "Balderas may want to play hardball with child pornographers, but he's also shown he's more than willing to fuck a few kids himself when there's money on the line."

    Best sentence of the week award, definitely. :)

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


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