UPDATE: Teen Sexters are Not Child Pornographers

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UPDATE: rsieardktk
Here is an email address to write to the US Sentencing Commission: [email protected].
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You’ve probably heard of this incident by now: 100 or possibly even more teens and pre-teens busted for sexting in Colorado. This is hardly an isolated incident. Teens. Phones. Cameras. As if we couldn’t all guess what would happen.
The only ones who don’t seem to get it, yet, are the approximately 30 states where the legislators have still not amended the laws to recognize sexting is not child porn. The plea for more rationality AND compassion, below, comes to us from Diana Green, a social justice advocate in Brighton, NY, especially concerned about  barriers to employment. – L.
DON’T TREAT SEXTING AS CHILD PORN
by Diana Green 
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Last  week, more than 100 Canon City, Colorado, high school and middle school students, some as young as 12, were implicated in a “sexting’” scandal for taking and sending nude photos of themselves and schoolmates.
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That’s about 10% of the entire population of the high school.
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Possession and transmission of nude photos of children under 18 is child pornography, a criminal offense. Most of the students are minors, and hopefully will be classified only as “victims,” not perps. But the few over 18 may face charges. As District Attorney Tom LeDoux told reporters, “We will review each case on an individual basis. It is possible that students will have to register as sex offenders.”
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Note that a kid one day under 18 may incur no penalties.  A kid one day over 18 has his life ruined, facing possible prison time, and/or years on the dreaded registry.
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The problem is this: The sex offender laws in this country were designed circa 1995, during a period of national paranoia about child abduction and serial killers. They were bad laws then, but they are worse now, because they have not kept up with technology and social norms. Of course we don’t want our kids sexting. But if 10% of kids at least at one school are doing it, should we be criminalizing what appears to be just plain dumb adolescent behavior? Criminalizing it this harshly? Rather than keeping our kids safe, this “For the safety of the children!” law has ensnared them.
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And it is about to get even worse.
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The United States Sentencing Commission is currently preparing new sentencing standards that will classify possession and transmission of photos of naked kids as a “crime of violence.” If this passes, sexts will be evidence of a violent crime. It’s possible that even the 12 year olds in a case like this could then be charged with felony offenses.
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Let’s not allow our sex offender laws to get even more draconian. Protest this change. Write to:
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The US Sentencing  Commission
Public Affairs
One Columbus Circle N.E. Suite 2-500
Washington D.C. 20002-8002
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The kid you save may be your own.

 

Maybe the problem with calling sexting "child porn" is that we refuse to distinguish between 4 year olds and 14 year olds.

Maybe the problem with calling sexting “child porn” is that we refuse to distinguish between 4 year olds and 14 year olds.

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68 Responses to UPDATE: Teen Sexters are Not Child Pornographers

  1. Charles November 10, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    The fault doesn’t just lie with the laws. It’s with the DAs. They have the choice to file charges. They are there to decide what type of action best suits the public’s interest. They can be reasonable people and decide that even though it is the law that no public good is served by filing charges. Yet they don’t. That’s what I don’t get at all.

  2. lollipoplover November 10, 2015 at 9:39 am #

    “The United States Sentencing Commission is currently preparing new sentencing standards that will classify possession and transmission of photos of naked kids as a “crime of violence.” If this passes, sexts will be evidence of a violent crime. It’s possible that even the 12 year olds in a case like this could then be charged with felony offenses.”

    Can we please FIRST address the issue of how current “crimes of violence” and PHOTOS associated with these victims are handled in this country?
    See these photos of examples of violent crimes:

    http://deadspin.com/this-is-why-nfl-star-greg-hardy-was-arrested-for-assaul-1739117634

    When NFL players are given 2 game suspensions for beating the holy crap out of women and we are trying to get NEW laws to register horny 12 year olds for LIFE for nude pictures, there is a serious lapse in what is defined as VIOLENCE. I am sick of these stories about kids and phones and sexts. Fix the crappy laws that offer NO protection for victims of domestic violence first and then we can talk about horny teens. Seriously.

  3. TRS November 10, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Aside from legal issues which I agree are not fair unless pictures are being used and spread to destroy another child’s life. Kids need to understand how this behavior can ruin their lives even if the legal system never gets involved.

  4. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    “Possession and transmission of nude photos of children under 18 is child pornography”

    No, it isn’t. I mean, it can be, and often is, but these are two overlapping categories, not the same thing with two different names.

  5. theresa hall November 10, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I like to know why they were looking in all those phone in the first place. and Charles the reason the da go through with this craziness is because the more wins they have whether right or wrong the better they look to the bigwigs. then if they want they can become bigwigs.

  6. TheOtherAnna November 10, 2015 at 10:51 am #

    “Of course we don’t want our kids sexting.” Um, why? Aside from ridiculous, life-ruining laws, I don’t see a reason.

    Also, wouldn’t kids over 18 actually NOT be prosecuted as child pornographers for possessing/ distributing their own photos, since, you know, their photos are not of “children”, technically speaking?

    Anyway, it’s silly to call pictures of adolescents over a certain age “child porn” since their bodies are basically indistinguishable from those of adults and are capable of all the same things, such as sex and reproduction.

  7. Warren November 10, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    Lawmakers will scream up and down that they are trying to protect teens and kids from ruining their lives, by sexting. Save them from employers and schools seeing things online that will ruin chances for employment and college entrance.

    So now instead of a school or employer catching a random shot of someone’s poor choice, the lawmakers will give them a criminal record and put them on the registry. Making it automatic, that their education, employment and life are in ruins.

    Thank God we have these lawmakers to protect our future generations.

  8. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    “wouldn’t kids over 18 actually NOT be prosecuted as child pornographers for possessing/ distributing their own photos”

    The photos on someone’s phone are not necessarily of themselves. If they’re in a relationship with someone who’s under 18 (but over the age of consent) and they are exchanging photos, they might have a problem

  9. Nicole R. November 10, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    I’m not for “allowing” sexting. I do think it’s a dumb thing to do, and I’m OK with consequences in the case described – but consequences along the lines of breaking a major school rule or an expensive traffic ticket, and the same for all the students who did it, not different for those two days on either side of 18.

    I believe the sex-offender registry should be reserved for those individuals who pose an actual danger to actual victims. (This means an 18-year-old with a 16-year-old girlfriend would NOT be included, but a 40-year-old abusing a position of power over that same 16-year-old WOULD be, and that same 18-year-old raping a 10-year-old ALSO would be.) It’s about the likelihood of future danger, and THAT should be the deciding factor, not age.

  10. Tim November 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    “Possession and transmission of nude photos of children under 18 is child pornography”

    To second what James wrote, this is simply not true. It’s irresponsible to say this because then the idea becomes accepted and it’s harder to fight against it. Nudity absolutely does not equal pornography.

  11. John November 10, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Quote:

    “The United States Sentencing Commission is currently preparing new sentencing standards that will classify possession and transmission of photos of naked kids as a “crime of violence”.

    Goodness, when is this insane witch hunt gonna end? EVERY single year, new laws are passed in the interest of “protecting” children but cause more collateral damage than they’re worth, and EVERY single year the definition of these “crimes” against children are inflated to the point where they come no where near describing what actually happened but are a stark exaggeration instead.

    Look, as a 59-year-old male if I’m texting pictures of naked 15-year-old boys or girls please slap the cuffs on me because I would certainly deserve jail time and sex offender status if that is what I did. But please, if a 15-year-old boy texts a naked picture of himself or of his ding dong to his girlfriend, discipline him accordingly and then allow him to move on with his life.

    But nooooooo, we’ve gotta protect the kids so we need to send a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated (and of course so the politician saying this will get some votes). What a crock of BS!!!!

  12. Eyes Rolling November 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    > The fault doesn’t just lie with the laws. It’s with the DAs. They have the choice to file charges. They are there to decide what type of action best suits the public’s interest.

    I agree but probably not for the same reasons you have. I think in most parts of the country, a DA that can claim they prosecuted X # of sex offenders in their jurisdiction makes for a compelling re-election bid and equals votes. So, I don’t think they have motivation to deal with sexters any differently then the real creeps that are likely much harder prey to catch.

  13. Reziac November 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    DAs are not in it for the public’s best interests. They are in it for the highest possible conviction rare. These cases have the ‘advantage’ of being fairly open-and-shut, and really easy to get a conviction since fear of prison encourages plea bargaining and a quick resolution.

    Hence the average DA’s office has a conviction rate of 95% or more, which looks great to the voters, come the next election cycle.

  14. Reziac November 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    …highest possible conviction rate… let’s see if I can type it right this time…

  15. John November 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    @lollipoplover:

    You know, I’m a huge football fan and enjoy watching college and pro football. It’s like I can’t get enough of it. BUT you are spot-on here lollipop! I’m all for the protection of kids and the swift prosecution of those who savagely abuse kids, sexually or otherwise, but I’m sick and tired of minors getting special status to the point where just touching or taking nude photos of them is defined as a violent crime when authentic violent crimes against adults get a free pass. Yes, photographing a minor who is nude is wrong and should be punished accordingly but how about a little perspective here? Because when you get right down to it, a 120 lb. female is as helpless as a child is against a male 250 lb. or so professional football player who can bench press well over 400 lbs! But yet Greg Hardy and Ray Rice get a slap on the wrist for what they did, yet this poor 15-year-old kid, in a sense, gets a life sentence just for making a dumb 15-year-old mistake!

  16. marie November 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Look, as a 59-year-old male if I’m texting pictures of naked 15-year-old boys or girls please slap the cuffs on me because I would certainly deserve jail time and sex offender status if that is what I did.

  17. marie November 10, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    ~ Look, as a 59-year-old male if I’m texting pictures of naked 15-year-old boys or girls please slap the cuffs on me because I would certainly deserve jail time and sex offender status if that is what I did. ~

    Let me try this comment again and see if i can keep my fingers off the submit button. 🙂

    Why would you deserve to be on the registry? Why does anyone? The purpose of the registry is to keep communities safe and to provide a list of likely suspects when cops need to solve a sex crime mystery. The registry does neither.

    Those who committed sex crimes are as unlikely to commit another sex crime as they ever were, which is, extremely unlikely.

    Even if you think that YOU would deserve the registry, do your kids deserve to have their house be the one that gets egged? Does your wife deserve obscenities yelled at her when she trims the roses in the front yard? Registrants have families. It will be their address on the registry, not just yours.

  18. Troutwaxer November 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    “We have to protect children from making this horrible mistake by further criminalizing this mistake, so that making this horrible mistake ruins even more lives so kids won’t make this horrible mistake.”

    Circular logic, anyone?

    Reasoning forward, I hope everyone has figured out that with the advent of the smart phone, amateur porn sites are a very poor risk for viewers who would prefer not to be arrested for kiddie porn.

  19. EricS November 10, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Seems to me, government is becoming more and more religious base. Not good. Every civilization that has used religion to rule, has fallen…hard. While destroying the lives of people in it. Wars have been started in the name of religion. There is a reason why it’s a common belief that State and Religion should never mix.

    Everyone has varying degree of a moral compass. Some more (extreme) than others. Plenty of evidence of these people. And they are everywhere in a position of authority. From cops, to politicians and law makers, to the one that approves marriage licenses.

    Religion should be a choice, not a mandate. Common sense, reason, and logic are not religious based. These are what should be used when making decisions for a State, or the country for that matter. Not sanctimonious imperatives.

  20. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    “Hence the average DA’s office has a conviction rate of 95% or more, which looks great to the voters, come the next election cycle.”

    The other side of that is that if they’re doing a good job of picking cases (that is, only proceeding with the ones they can prove) then they’d have a fairly high conviction rate.

    Keep in mind that most DA’s are civil-service, not elected. The head guy runs for the job; but all the ADA’s keep their jobs no matter who wins the top job. It’s similar with USA’s and AUSA’s.

  21. Troutwaxer November 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    @ James Pollock: “Keep in mind that most DA’s are civil-service, not elected. The head guy runs for the job; but all the ADA’s keep their jobs no matter who wins the top job. It’s similar with USA’s and AUSA’s.”

    Nonetheless, an ADA who doesn’t prosecute hard against things the elected DA needs to be against isn’t going to have any easy life at the office, is he? And in semi-rural Colorado I’d expect considerable pressure to “throw the book at them.”

  22. Dirk November 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Not pornographers but accidental creators of explicit pictures of children? Yes they are. Don’t defend stupidity.

  23. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    ” Yes, photographing a minor who is nude is wrong”

    Or not, depending on the circumstances.

    As for Greg Hardy, the only reason he didn’t get a prison sentence is because the victim stopped cooperating with the prosecutors (allegedly, as a result of a financial settlement).

  24. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    “Nonetheless, an ADA who doesn’t prosecute hard against things the elected DA needs to be against isn’t going to have any easy life at the office, is he?”

    The prosecutor has civil-service protections for just this sort of thing. Prosecutors have ethical duties to the profession (specific rules for lawyers that apply only to prosecutors). If squeezed between what the boss wants and what the ethical duties require, the prosecutor is supposed to choose to act ethically. The penalty for pissing off your boss are losing your job. The penalty for violating your ethical duties is, or at least may be, losing your law license (which costs you your job).

  25. Troutwaxer November 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    @ James Pollock

    “Bill, I know you’ve been with the office for many, many years, but I think we need to let some of the other attorneys here learn how to handle the big cases, so I’m reassigning you to handle parking tickets for the next couple years.”

  26. Jana November 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    Let’s take this one level higher: What if I possess photos of my naked children when they were little? Could this fact be also considered as a crime? And what if I show those photos to my relatives or friends, and they will talk to the authorities? Often I think that so called modern society lacks common sense…

  27. theresa hall November 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Jana something like that happen once. did you ever hear of the Wal-Mart bath time photo scandal? parents were getting some bath time photo developed at Wal-Mart . clerk sees photos as prone. cps and cops are called. Wal-Mart despite almost ruing the family’s life can’t say sorry this time we goofed . no we were right to almost ruin your life

  28. Jason November 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    People are charged with and convicted on child porn charges all over the country for photos where the subject isn’t even nude. If a jury can be convinced that the motive was sexual gratification, then child porn it is. Or, the accused accepts a plea bargain to avoid 15 other charges.

    The most bizarre case I’ve read was a CA man who had photoshopped his estranged 13 y.o. daughter’s face onto the bodies of adult women performing sex acts. He admitted he was sexually gratified by the images, so they were child porn.

    BTW, the daughter had recently reconnected with her father at her mother’s suggestion, and they apparently spent their time together using pot and coke, so this wasn’t exactly
    your typical family.

    Point being, however, the criteria for deciding if a photo is pornographic have been expanded to include the subject’s facial expression, the setting of the photo, the relationship of the parties, the motivations of the person in possession of the photo (or their mere belief that the subject is under 18), etc.

    That’s why you probably won’t see any Blue Lagoon or Pretty Baby movies being made nowadays.

  29. Jim Collins November 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Since when is it the NFLs job to punish people? If they are not being charged with a crime, why is it the NFLs job to handout punishment?

  30. Dirk November 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    @Jana. You stated and asked: “Let’s take this one level higher: What if I possess photos of my naked children when they were little? Could this fact be also considered as a crime? And what if I show those photos to my relatives or friends, and they will talk to the authorities? Often I think that so called modern society lacks common sense…”

    I would like to answer you by also copying the caption to the picture of Lenore’s post here: “Maybe the problem with calling sexting “child porn” is that we refuse to distinguish between 4 year olds and 14 year olds.”

    What happens you put those two ideas into the melting pot and mash the two together? What is the difference between a classic 4 year old in a bubble bath family photo and a picture of a 14 year old standing stark naked touching herself. Are you saying you can’t see the difference?

    What Lenore is saying with her caption is the 14 year old is an adult who should be treated as such. I find that hard to believe. 14 year olds may be on the path to mental maturation but I don’t think their reasoning as forward thinking and clear as Lenore imagines. That being said I agree with other commentators here that the DAs and police can practice their discretionary powers and not prosecute teenagers acting stupid. Conversely, they should be shown somehow that what they did was stupid.

  31. lollipoplover November 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    So is a cellphone now a weapon since it was used as an instrument of crime, especially if a sexting picture is considered a crime of violence?

    Should we ban cellphones, like guns, and have weapon-free/cellphone-free zones around our schools to protect our children from nude photos and child porn?

  32. Warren November 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Jim,

    It has become the new in thing. Activists and female politicians have bullied professional sports into it. They have been forced into suspending athletes on mere accusations. And this is wrong. Now if the athlete has his or her day in court and is convicted, then fine, even great, kick their butt out. But until they are convicted they should be given the benefit of the doubt.

  33. BL November 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    @Warren
    “They have been forced into suspending athletes on mere accusations.”

    Only male athletes. Hope Solo’s domestic violence arrest didn’t keep her out of the WWC. For that matter, regardless of what US Soccer authorities did, she could have been denied entrance into Canada for the tournament.

  34. Dirk November 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    @Warren. Roger Goodall saw the video or Ray Rice punching the teeth out of his partner in an elevator and decided to bury it, or I think it is possible someone told him (a lawyer who did watch it) told him not to…in which case he knew what was on it. The Rice investigation is indicative how the NFL was doing business. The NFL is changing how it does business cause the commish is an idiot who worked his way up from chauffeur.

    Greg Hardy is a scumbag. I can’t believe anyone would want him on their team.

    http://deadspin.com/this-is-why-nfl-star-greg-hardy-was-arrested-for-assaul-1739117634

    I would think both the Cowboys and NFL will eventually realize they can’t damage control this. And that they shouldn’t want to.

    http://deadspin.com/two-eagles-made-a-point-of-going-after-greg-hardy-1741408526

    Football players are employees at will. I for one wouldn’t scumbags like Greg Hardy as an employee.

  35. Jim Collins November 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    I agree 100% Warren & BL. I’ve posted here before about the married couple that videoed themselves having sex when they BOTH were 17. When they took their computer to be repaired a tech found the video and turned it over to Police. The DA only wanted to charge the MAN before common sense reigned and they just dropped any charges.

  36. Dirk November 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    @Dirk November 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm # It has been a long day. Sorry for the typos in the NFL comment. I think it still capture the spirit of the thing.

  37. Dirk November 10, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    @Jim Collins. Exactly, the DA and police used their discretionary powers and dropped all charges. Although it was sexist of them to assume the man was alone in any possible legal action.

  38. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    “Bill, I know you’ve been with the office for many, many years, but I think we need to let some of the other attorneys here learn how to handle the big cases, so I’m reassigning you to handle parking tickets for the next couple years.”

    As opposed to
    “Bill, this panel finds that you have abused the discretion of your office, and the fact that you were ordered to do it by your employer does not excuse this unethical behavior. It doesn’t matter that he was the District Attorney. We’re going to have to suspend your license to practice law for a period of at least one year, with reinstatement possible but not guaranteed after that period. Maybe think about it a little longer next time.”

  39. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    “So is a cellphone now a weapon since it was used as an instrument of crime, especially if a sexting picture is considered a crime of violence?”

    No, because “something that was used to commit a crime” and “weapon” don’t mean the same thing. (Cellphones have been used to commit crimes before… conspiracy, telephonic harassment, bombings… all have had cellphones involved. Drug dealers have carried cellphones for as long as there have been cellphones.)

  40. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    “Football players are employees at will.”

    They absolutely are not. Every single one has a contract that covers their employment.

  41. John November 10, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    @Marie:

    Well, I see what you mean Marie. If I were jailed or fined very heavily for sexting pics of nude 15-year-old kids, that would certainly be enough of a wake-up call for me to not do it again. Not that I’d do it in the first place, I certainly would NOT but as long as we have such a thing as a sex offender registry, I’d certainly me much more deserving of it than a 15-year-old boy who sext a photo of his shwauntz (spelling?) to his 15-year-old girlfriend.

    @James:

    I’m guessing that texting nude pics of children would be considered acceptable if you texted a cute photo of your 3-year-old children in the bathtub with their rubber duckies and soaped up hair. It would take a real prude, or pervert himself, to see that as being child pornography. But did you know that the coach of the Mankato State football team up in Minnesota actually got in trouble for doing that exact same thing? He had nude photos of his toddler children running across the kitchen floor on his work cell phone and wouldn’t ya know, some dipshit “vigilante” who wanted to “protect the kids” turned him in for possession of child pornography. So after a big investigation with the coach spending the day in jail and losing his coaching job, a Judge with common sense dismissed the case. In doing so, the Judge said that in all his years on the bench, he knows child pornography when he sees it and this was NOT child pornography; therefore, case dismissed!! But the damage to the coach had already been done, losing his job and his reputation.

    Some people are so f…… stupid!

  42. Liz November 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    There is a world of difference between taking pictures of a young child in a sexual manner or without their knowledge and taking a picture of yourself to be given to another youth.

  43. Donald November 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    Some District Attorneys protect their personal conviction statistics like an NFL quarterback. However there are others to blame for this as well. In an election, their opponent will use them as propaganda. For example if DA Joe Blow was lenient with teen sexters then the headlines will read. JOE BLOW IS SOFT ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHERS
    Politicians and newspaper will continue to use headlines like this for as long as they work. My question is, why do they work?

    This is the Nancy Grace age. Although many people don’t believe her hype, they still tune in for the entertainment value. (this still increases her ratings) It’s easy to point the blame on everybody else. However we need to start asking ourselves, “Am I part of the blame? Is my demand for entertainment helping to fuel the fear culture and feed the propaganda tyrants?”

  44. Donald November 10, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    “The purpose of the registry is to keep communities safe and to provide a list of likely suspects when cops need to solve a sex crime mystery. The registry does neither.”

    It use to when it was new. It wasn’t public information. However the temptation to use this for political grandstanding, feeding the fear culture, and selling newspapers was just too much to resist.

    God Bless America. It’s the land of the free and the home of the drama junkies

  45. Warren November 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    Dirk,
    I don’t give a rat’s behind about the backgrounds of those in power, those that make the decisions. I will not support any system that treats anyone guilty until proven innocent. Nobody should be fired, suspended or whatever until they have had their day in court. It is that fundamental. Nascar did it with Kurt Busch, on nothing more than her accusations. No witnesses, no nothing. And that is BS.

  46. James Pollock November 10, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    “It use to when it was new. It wasn’t public information.”

    The purpose of the SOR when it was new was to point out people who were/are dangerous, so that other people could take steps necessary to protect themselves. (Like a “beware of dog” sign, only for people.)

    Then they started adding all sorts of people who don’t actually present any danger, such that the registry is useless now. (If a “beware of dog” sign is to allow people to avoid contact with a dangerous dog, then the current SOR is like requiring every house that’s ever had a dog in it to post a “beware of dog” sign, and… there’s pressure to make houses with cats in them put up a “beware of dog” sign, too, because, after all, cats are almost dogs. and, you know, hamsters are almost the same as dogs, too. and…)

  47. Nicole R. November 10, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    “…I will not support any system that treats anyone guilty until proven innocent. Nobody should be fired, suspended or whatever until they have had their day in court. It is that fundamental…”

    I agree. And that goes for posting the names and addresses of the accused as well. – I just read an article a couple of weeks ago about someone being accused of an awful crime, and I was SHOCKED at the number of details it gave. It would be so easy to find the person! If I lived next door to them, I think I would be more afraid of some vigilante setting the house on fire and it spreading to mine than I would be of someone *who hadn’t been convicted of any crime yet*. (And if the person IS found innocent, the story will STILL show up every time they’re Googled forever.) Don’t people realize that allowing someone’s life to be ruined by accusations is putting too much power in the hands of anyone who grabs it?

  48. Stacey November 10, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

    Sharing photos of girls or boys is wrong. There SHOULD be something done about it. Not something small. Lives ARE being damaged by the sharing of nude photos of MOSTLY girls. Schools, parents, and Etc are not taking it seriously. We already have a problem with people thinking they are entitled to ruin other people’s lives with revenge porn. I guess it is ok as long as it is not Your mother, daughter, sister….

    Sex registry, no. Breaking the law, yes. Teach your kids not to take or share nude photos of others….or themselves. Teach them respect.

  49. Warren November 10, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Stacey,
    So you are all for making criminals out of teens that take and share photos of themselves? That will sure show them. Registry or not, that is a criminal record that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Way to teach them a lesson.

    We are not talking about kids that were forced into doing this. Not some victim snatched off the street and held in a basement. Not photos taken for distribution for profit.

    We are talking about kids and teens messing around. Being crazy. Taking a risk. Oh wait a minute, acting like millions of teens before them, and millions of teens yet to come.

    There is no way in a civilized world should this be considered criminal.

  50. Donna November 10, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    “The head guy runs for the job; but all the ADA’s keep their jobs no matter who wins the top job.”

    Sometimes, but often they do not. It is not uncommon for a new DA to come in and “clean house.” The last time our DA changed, she fired two ADAs her first week and all except one were gone within 3 months. A DA very much sets the tone for the office and is going to find a way to get rid of people who won’t follow his/her agenda.

    “Prosecutors have ethical duties to the profession (specific rules for lawyers that apply only to prosecutors). If squeezed between what the boss wants and what the ethical duties require, the prosecutor is supposed to choose to act ethically.”

    Certainly true if the DA is asking his employees to violate their ethical duties as lawyers or prosecutors, however that little tidbit of useless information is completely irrelevant to Troutwaxer’s comment. There is nothing unethical whatsoever about a prosecutor prosecuting crimes as written in the state’s statutes. There is nothing unethical about sentencing harshly as long as the sentence is within the time allowed under the statute. The DA controls both things and can fire an ADA for refusing to follow his guidelines. The DA would pretty much have to be insisting that his people do things akin to withholding exculpatory evidence to come up against ethical violations and that is not what Troutwaxer was talking about.

  51. James Pollock November 11, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    “Sometimes, but often they do not. It is not uncommon for a new DA to come in and “clean house.” The last time our DA changed, she fired two ADAs her first week and all except one were gone within 3 months.”

    Sounds like the ADAs of whatever state you’re in need a better union.

  52. sexhysteria November 11, 2015 at 3:35 am #

    My personal experience is that when kids send sexual messages they are just joking. There is nothing wrong with kids seeing the humor in sex. We should want kids to be light-hearted about the mass hysteria over sex and nudity. It’s a healthy form of protest against our culture’s Puritan heritage. Criminalize sexting? You might as well check in to a mental hospital.

  53. Richard November 11, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    First, its not that 10% of kids are doing it. Most kids are doing it – 10% happened to be caught in this random roundup.

    Also, @Stacey:

    “Sharing photos of girls or boys is wrong. There SHOULD be something done about it. Not something small. Lives ARE being damaged by the sharing of nude photos of MOSTLY girls. Schools, parents, and Etc are not taking it seriously. We already have a problem with people thinking they are entitled to ruin other people’s lives with revenge porn. I guess it is ok as long as it is not Your mother, daughter, sister….”

    First, I’m not sure that I accept your premise. Revenge porn is damaging because we have made the idea that someone is naked beneath their clothes the “worst thing that could happen”. Even so…

    How does punishing the kids with jail time help matters? If someone takes their own naked picture, and you’re concerned about that someone, throwing them in jail doesn’t seem like the right response. What’s next, jail time for kids who don’t eat their vegetables, something that actually has a measurable objective real-world consequence?

    As for the people who receive the pictures, how does throwing them in jail help them? After all, they may not even have asked for the pictures and – even if they did – the simple act of receiving a picture willingly sent doesn’t harm the sender. That makes no logical sense.

    Sexting can lead to problems down the road, sure – that doesn’t mean that we should criminalize it any more than we criminalize most other stupid decisions that people make.

    And before you ask, yes, I do have kids and yes they’re both girls. I certainly wouldn’t want to see them in jail for doing something that most kids are doing, and I would hate to think that they could cause other kids to go to jail for something that they sent them, even if sending them that something was stupid.

    Final comment – note that in most of these cases, if the kids were having risky stupid unprotected sex with each other, that would be perfectly legal, but having a photo could ruin their lives for decades. Really?

  54. Steve S November 11, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    Donna beat me to it, but I will echo what she said. The Proseciting Attorney has a great deal of control over the kinds of cases the ADAs prosecute. I have had plenty of cases where the decision was made upstairs. Welcome to the real world.

  55. James Pollock November 11, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    “How does punishing the kids with jail time help matters? If someone takes their own naked picture, and you’re concerned about that someone, throwing them in jail doesn’t seem like the right response.”

    The theory goes something like this:
    “Oh, noes! Many of our kids are doing something that they think is fun and harmless but can lead to real problems for them later in life. What can we do? I know, as soon as we catch someone doing it, we ‘make an example of them’ and, then, all the rest will stop doing it because of the example we’ve set.”
    (This is also the logic behind drug prohibition, and was as successful in that arena.)

    “As for the people who receive the pictures, how does throwing them in jail help them? After all, they may not even have asked for the pictures”

    The federal child-porn statute has an out for people who get sent child-porn they didn’t ask for. I assume that state statutes on the subject do, too, without doing a state-by-state survey. One of the requirements is that the recipient destroys the child-porn or hands it over to the authorities.

    “the simple act of receiving a picture willingly sent doesn’t harm the sender.”
    Saving it might.
    I leave the case of whether or not the sender is harmed by the sharing of the picture, if (as is not often the case, admittedly) the sender intended the picture to be shared at the time it was sent, for later.

  56. James Pollock November 11, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    “Welcome to the real world.”

    Pfft. If you want to drag the real world into it, you should have gone right to mentioning that, in the real world, even if the prosecutor’s office DOES have a history and pattern of unethical behavior, very close to nobody ever gets suspended.

  57. SteveS November 11, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    There is difference between unethical/illegal behavior and the discretionary function of the Prosecutor’s Office. The majority of criminal cases are resolved through pleas. Only a small fraction ever go to trial. This is likely the result of an overburdened judicial system and several unfortunate incentives to plead guilty. How good an offer is depends on a lot of things. but some offices are willing to deal on some crimes and not others. Often, this is because of politics. If a community values some crimes differently, you may see some crimes being more aggressively investigated and prosecuted.

    The flip side is also true. If a prosecutor goes after people in a way that offends a majority of the community, they will have a tough time getting reelected.

  58. Dirk November 11, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    @James Pollock I said ““Football players are employees at will.” You said “They absolutely are not. Every single one has a contract that covers their employment.”

    NFL contracts are void if a player is released, except guaranteed money which is usually received as a bonus at the start of a contract. So if a player signs a 10 million dollar contract with 1 million guaranteed. And is cut halfway through the season after getting his guaranteed 1 million and 5 million for half a season the player does not get the rest of his money. The team does not have to honor the rest of the contract. They are an employee at-will who can be fired at any time, for almost any reason…

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/73449/how-do-contracts-work-glad-you-asked

  59. Dirk November 11, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    @Warren November 10, 2015 at 5:41 pm #
    Dirk,
    I don’t give a rat’s behind about the backgrounds of those in power, those that make the decisions. I will not support any system that treats anyone guilty until proven innocent. Nobody should be fired, suspended or whatever until they have had their day in court. It is that fundamental. Nascar did it with Kurt Busch, on nothing more than her accusations. No witnesses, no nothing. And that is BS.

    This isn’t an accusation. Take a look..

    http://deadspin.com/this-is-why-nfl-star-greg-hardy-was-arrested-for-assaul-1739117634

    You don’t need the cops and a court to come to your own conclusions. Just because you are anti-authority doesn’t mean you don’t have any yourself. Do you call the cops if your think your kid stole from the cookie jar? No. If you determine that your star running back is a classic asshole do you need a court to determine it legally for you to decide you don’t want an asshole stinking up your locker room. No.

  60. Warren November 11, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Dirk,
    Once you have stopped banging your head against the wall, and the voices in your head stop speaking, try this on for size.

    Everyone has a right to their day in court. That is not anti-authority. By your logic, screw the arrest, screw the trial, just kill the guy on the spot. You may not like it, but everyone no matter what the crime, has the right to a trial. Be it by jury or judge.

    It is people like you that are the problem. You probably believe that a person that does not consent to the police searching their home, and demands a warrant, is hiding something and guilty.

    I am not anti-authority. I am anti-power.

  61. Warren November 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Dirk,

    Thanks for the link. Arrested, charged, and dismissed.

    And despite the photos of her injuries, it is still just an accusation until the court decides. And they did.

  62. James Pollock November 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    “NFL contracts are void if a player is released”

    You don’t know what you’re talking about, and should stop talking about it now.

  63. Troutwaxer November 12, 2015 at 1:26 am #

    Dirk and Warren. I believe that star athletes have either a league rule or a contractual clause which states that they’re not allowed to do anything which makes the league/team look bad. Keep in mind that they’re probably being disciplined/suspended for violating the rules/contract rather than as an ad-hoc response to criminal charges.

  64. Warren November 12, 2015 at 4:05 am #

    Troutwaxer,

    This has nothing to do with that clause. Leagues used to wait for the court outcome. Now they have been pressured by groups and female political figures to be “proactive”. In other words, guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

  65. E November 12, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    @Warren, I believe the leagues (after tolerating players who eventually were found guilty) are now taking the stance that serious accusations deserve serious respect and attention needs to be be paid. Presumably it serves as a deterrent for bad behavior if the league is not rolling over any more.

    In regard to Greg Hardy, your summarization is overly slanted toward him. He was actually found guilty, appealed, and then it was dismissed because the victim chose to no longer participate. A little different than simply “dismissed”.

    Are league succumbing to outside pressure? Sure. But maybe they should. They don’t want to side with a player and then find the video that shows him slugging his wife/gf and dragging her out of an elevator.

  66. Warren November 18, 2015 at 11:21 pm #

    E,
    Well you can believe whatever you want, but I will never support any system that punishes, suspends, terminates, or whatever, anyone based on accusation and charges. Remember innocent until proven guilty?

    I will give you the Hardy case. Didn’t really know much about it.

    Hell why don’t we just skip investigations, arrests, trials and appeals, and whenever someone is accused of a crime, just immediately send them to prison. Think of how much money we would save on law enforcement, and the legal system.

  67. Suzanne November 19, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    Maybe one way to use this for the good is to make sure teens are informed that having naked pictures on their phone is pornography and they could be fined or put on the sex offender registry and so they should not have nude photos on their phone. It is counter-intuitive to think that this would be a major offense so until or unless the law changes the best course of action is to raise awareness about the possible punishments along with underscoring how not private cell phones are.