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ACLU Wins, No Sexting Charges For NJ Teens 406

Posted by kdawson
from the know-it-when-i-see-it dept.
Following up on the "sexting" case we've discussed in recent days, oliphaunt sends word from the Times-Tribune that a New Jersey federal judge has ordered the prosecutor not to file charges in the cases of three teenage girls whose cell phones were confiscated. "Wyoming [NJ] County District Attorney George Skumanick Jr. cannot charge three teenage girls who appeared in photographs seminude traded by classmates last year, a judge ruled Monday. US District Judge James M. Munley granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to temporarily stop Mr. Skumanick from filing felony charges against the Tunkhannock Area School District students."
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ACLU Wins, No Sexting Charges For NJ Teens

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  • by SirFozzie (442268) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:07PM (#27408727)

    TFS states that it's only a TEMPORARY halt to filing any charges on the teens

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:19PM (#27408939) Homepage

      Yeah, and based on the article I read earlier (my excuse for not RingTFA now) the basis for the judgement was that the pictures of the girls were not sexually explicit, not that charging the subject as in supposed victim of child pornography with life-devastating charges is an affront against the spirit of anti-child-porn laws and of justice itself.

      I suppose given the former there's no reason to rule on the latter, but still I really wanted this to be thrown out because the very concept of charging the girls whose photos were taken is insanely Kafkaesque.

      • by davidphogan74 (623610) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:33PM (#27409151) Homepage

        The ACLU lawsuit argues the photographs in which the girls appear are not pornographic and should be protected under the First Amendment.

        It's exactly that. Thank you First Amendment, once again.

        • This REALLY needs to be decided on Constitutional grounds. A little research will show that these sorts of threats and even charges are becoming commonplace against teens. This is one reason this needs to go to trial. Let's send a CLEAR message to prosecutors that this is fundamentally a violation of teens' protected speech and outside the (narrow) child pornography exception.

          Note that in other cases obscenity charges are used. However, this poses extremely problematic issues as well. Normal obscenity law depends on a jury to decide a relevant contemporary community standard. Since there are no jury trials in juvenile court, the judge gets to decide what is obscene and what is not and thus IMO this makes the law as applied to juveniles unconstitutionally vague (because a judge alone decides matters in what would fundamentally be an arbitrary way).

          • by el americano (799629) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @01:06AM (#27412349) Homepage

            It's odd that the prosecutor thinks he's doing nothing wrong. The judge clearly has problems with it:

            According to the Times, Judge Munley told Skumanick's lawyer, A. James Hailstone: "It seems like the children seemed to be the victims and the perpetrators here. How does that make sense?" State law "doesn't distinguish between who took the picture and who was in it," Hailstone was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

            He's actually trying to charge them as accomplices to "open lewdness", which is a misdemeanor. I had never heard of such a thing. The possible child pornography charge was just prosecutorial blackmail - standard operating procedure for almost any DA. I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that these laws would be found unconstitutional. The legislature needs to amend them from being applied in this way - although they typically only take action after a well publicized travesty of justice.

            In any case, I think you'd need this to be much more explicit to set the kind of precedent you want. A not-guilty will be good enough for me, and the children involved too, I'm sure.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, pornography should also be protected by the First Amendment. And it should be legal for anybody to make pornographic photos of themselves. They may be teenagers but they should still own their bodies.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:08PM (#27409571) Journal

        the basis for the judgement was that the pictures of the girls were not sexually explicit

        Now that these pictures have been ruled not sexually explicit, where can I get a copy?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GooberToo (74388)

        Pretty scary stuff as the pictures described contain more clothing (a braw, which typically covers more than a bikini, and long pant pajama bottoms) as would otherwise be present at a lake or beach outing. If allowed to stand, anyone who has ever taken a picture while at the beach or lake is likely a child pornographer in the eyes of this idiot prosecutor. According to this idiot, the majority of the world is a child pornographer.

        It would be nice if this guy were to be beat over the head with wrongful and m

      • by skroops (1237422) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:21PM (#27409717)
        This actually happened to me when I was a high-school student... Back before the internet crash, when you could get domain names for free, a friend of mine wanted to put a website up of his balls, just his balls, at jasonsballs.com (made-up first name). He was 16 and I was 17. I registered the site and drew up the html, with jasonsballs.com in big red letter, a single gif of his ballsack, and an angelfire counter. A few days later and a coupl e thousand hits later, I'm in the administrative office at my highschool with the police. They asked me about it and I explained what we had done (mistake of course). After a bit of time both of us were charged with "Pandering Obscenity of a Minor" or some such charge, a 5th degree felony. After months of lawyers talking, we finally had a court date. 5 minutes in, when an actual judge saw the case, he dismissed it immediately. Nevermind the thousands of dollars in attorney's fees that we had to pay.

        I had an idea to call the ACLU at that time but thought that media exposure might hurt me in the long run, now I regret not calling them.

        Anyway, this seems like a similar situation and hopefully competent decisions like this will continue to be made.
      • by C_L_Lk (1049846) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:29PM (#27409801) Homepage

        Now if only the article was correct - this didn't take place in New Jersey, but Pennsylvania. FYI I went to this high school in the 90s. The girls were nothing to write home about. I still don't think they are - not much changes in farm country.

        I know the families of several of the involved in this case -- it just was yet another case of a DA trying to make a big name for himself with a "prize case" that would make nation attention and move him up the ladder in his career. He's a real ass clown.

    • by oliphaunt (124016) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:33PM (#27409145) Homepage

      Well, sure, the ACLU only filed its complaint like, what, three or four days ago? It's ridonkulous to think a court would issue a final ruling in five days. But it's not unusual to get a temporary order this fast, that will hold while the court takes its time to figure out whether to make the order permanent or give this nutjob prosecutor a chance to back down.

    • by Asic Eng (193332) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:40PM (#27409207)
      It's a rather curious way to proceed - the ACLU has sued the DA in a federal court in order to prevent him from filing charges. I didn't realize something like that would even be possible. Clearly the kids need protection from this DA though. From another article [wcexaminer.com]: Parents were told their teens could avoid prosecution if they agreed to participate in a five-week program Skumanick developed with the county probation office and county's Victims Resource Center. Frankly - sounds to me like this pervert is looking for an excuse to humiliating some pretty young girls. "Give me your kids to torment or I'll add them to the sex offender registry".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        IANAL, and I don't know the legal basis for this, but ethically should we not be allowed to sue, or bring charges, against prosecutors who do patently ridiculous and abusive things?
        • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @08:26PM (#27410463) Journal

          but ethically should we not be allowed to sue, or bring charges, against prosecutors who do patently ridiculous and abusive things?

          Perhaps, but the DA makes a good point (probably his only one ever) when he says that it's a dangerous precedent to set when a Federal court prevents a State prosecutor from bringing charges. I'm no fan of what he's trying to do but I probably would have called his bluff before I would have run off to the Federal court house. His 'evidence' seems pretty thin and it's doubtful that it would even make it to a jury, let alone a conviction.....

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by terrymr (316118)

            Dangerous ? His actions are unconstitutional - federal court is the right forum for that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I tend to agree with you that ostensibly this should be a state issue. On the other hand, you must admit that the Federal government (justified or not) has seen fit to intrude into just about anything that has to do with pornography.

            A case in point is Title 18, Section 2257, which (contrary to popular belief) applies to individuals just as much as it does to commercial pornography. They justify this with an outrageous interpretation of the Interstate Commerce clause, stating that if ANY of the materials
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by CodeBuster (516420)
          As I recall a similar issue came up in the Duke Lacross false accusation of rape case where it was pointed out that unless a prosecutor is convicted of misconduct (as Mike Nifong [wikipedia.org] was in that case) he or she enjoys broad legal immunity from civil lawsuits arising out of their official actions as prosecutor.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>sounds to me like this pervert is looking for an excuse to humiliating some pretty young girls.

        Sounds to me like he's a religious type, and he sees an opportunity to impose his Judeo-christian values onto the citizens. He likely thinks nudity is a horrible, horrible sin deserving of punishment and hopes to scare other people from being nude. Or having sex. Or fun. There's no tyrant worse than a tyrant trying to "do good". I hate morality dictators.

  • NJ? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:12PM (#27408807) Journal
    These teens are in PA, not NJ.

    There is no Wyoming County in NJ.

    The judge may be in NJ (since federal jurisdictions often overlap individual states).

    Also note that there is no such thing as a "New Jersey federal judge". Submitter should be a little more careful... that judge has a specific title which wolud disambiguate which court we're talking about.

    That summary was atrocious. Blech.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053)
      Well that'd explain the other two comments pointing out that this isn't even permanent. It basically means nothing. It's all still temporary. I'm glad I took the time to read the comments before I got all excited about the possibility of sanity returning to American courts.
    • The link in the summary is to the Scranton (PA) Times, and the judge is in the US District Court of Middle Pennsylvania.

      I found this out by 1) clicking on the story link, and 2) Googling for judge's name and clicking on THE VERY FIRST LINK.

      Seriously, can't the alleged editors of this site pretend to give a fuck about the accuracy of what they post?

    • by oliphaunt (124016) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:25PM (#27409031) Homepage

      hey, this is slashdot. you're not supposed to read the article.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      "New Jersey Federal Judge" means a Federal Judge whose district or circuit is in New Jersey. A little Googling will confirm that "{state} Federal Judge" is a pretty common idiom. Nobody who's not a lawyer (and thinking you know all about the law doesn't count) really cares about which specific district.

      Which is not to defend sloppy summaries. Though I must point out that as Slashdot summaries go, this one is not all that bad, even with getting the state wrong.

      And there's no point in complaining about submit

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:58PM (#27409423) Homepage

      These teens are in PA, not NJ.

      And thus regardless of the actual ruling we can by deduction state that there are no "sexting" charges for nj teens, and the article title is correct!

  • Accuracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alexo (9335) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:16PM (#27408875) Journal

    TFA:
    Judge Munley ruled Mr. Walczak successfully met the standards necessary to issue a temporary order blocking Mr. Skumanick from filing charges against the three teens, including that they have demonstrated "a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claims." He also believed "no harm would come to (Mr. Skumanick) by delaying prosecution on this matter."

  • Reasoning? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nathan.fulton (1160807) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:18PM (#27408907) Journal
    often, the reason for a decision is just as (if not more than) important than the decision itself. I'm skeptical of whether or not this is a good thing in this case. While the judge does mention the first amendment, this little gem is in TFA:
    "Mr. Walczak has said it was clear the three girls were victims; they did not take or distribute the photos in question."

    Which means that this decision decided to ignore the issue of rather or not one can commit sex crimes against one's self. Which is kind of unfortunate.
    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:26PM (#27409041)
      Don't you just hate when you wake up in the morning after a night of heavy drinking and find out that you've taken advantage of yourself again? I know it always makes ME want to press charges for committing sex crimes against myself! If it is that obvious that the teens didn't take the pictures themselves (i.e. the pictures didn't show them holding a camera) then why were they threatened with prosecution in the first place? If a 2 year old hands you a photo of themselves posing naked on a bear skin rug, should said 2 year be arrested for distribution of child porn and forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life?
      • Re:Reasoning? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:54PM (#27409371)

        If a 2 year old hands you a photo of themselves posing naked on a bear skin rug, should said 2 year be arrested for distribution of child porn and forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life?

        In the USA, yes. In a country with a sane legal system, no.

      • Re:Reasoning? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Asic Eng (193332) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:23PM (#27409743)
        Of course - children are by themselves pornographic. Any picture of them is pornography, any development of their sexuality is a crime. After all it could titillate a prosecutor and make him feel uncomfortable about himself.
      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Don't you just hate when you wake up in the morning after a night of heavy drinking and find out that you've taken advantage of yourself again?

        Yes but I always find myself coming back for more so I must like it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Slurgi (892128)

      Which means that this decision decided to ignore the issue of rather or not one can commit sex crimes against one's self. Which is kind of unfortunate.

      Not everybody considers this unfortunate. I doubt he "ignored" the issue; rather, he opted that the defense of a person willingly committing a sex crime against oneself is invalid. That decision makes a lot of sense in my book.

    • Re:Reasoning? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BaronHethorSamedi (970820) <thebaronsamedi@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:34PM (#27409155)

      Which means that this decision decided to ignore the issue of rather or not one can commit sex crimes against one's self. Which is kind of unfortunate.

      I don't think the decision does any such thing. (The full text of the judge's order may be found here [aclupa.org].)

      This is only a temporary restraining order. It doesn't really get into the underlying issues of the prosecution itself. It's just a preliminary finding that the girls do seem to have a good First Amendment case, and that allowing the prosecution to proceed without some more argument into the free speech question might cause irreparable harm. The judge expressly notes that even a temporary infringement of First Amendment rights is a legally cognizable harm. Good for him.

      The judge also takes note of the argument that the girls here are victims, not perpetrators. That question isn't decided (though it certainly isn't ignored), because again, this is only a temporary restraining order that doesn't reach that far into the substance of the case.

  • by olddotter (638430) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:21PM (#27408949) Homepage
    This could get very ugly in the future. Lets just hope people REALLY think of the children, instead of using that as a political sound bite.
  • by nathan.fulton (1160807) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:21PM (#27408955) Journal
    TFA:
    He also believed "no harm would come to (Mr. Skumanick) by delaying prosecution on this matter."

    I have to say, I don't agree with the judge's assessment. With all the press coverage and a successful temporary injunction(?), I can't imagine this guy is looking forward to the campaign trail this year.
  • by MrMista_B (891430) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:25PM (#27409027)

    In the United States (and, more and more the UK and Australia), children are the enemy.

    Why?

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:32PM (#27409135) Homepage Journal
      Because they can't vote.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:38PM (#27409189)
      Children are the future, unless we stop them now.
    • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:57PM (#27409409)

      In the United States (and, more and more the UK and Australia), children are the enemy.

      Why?

      Easy target. Young people can't defend themselves.

    • not sure if they're 'the enemy' or not; but I do agree they're highly annoying in airplanes, in restaurants and in theatres!

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:03PM (#27409499) Homepage

      In the United States (and, more and more the UK and Australia), children are the enemy.

      Because it's the only way to protect them!

      Imagine what harm could come to these poor girls if they weren't sent to prison for ten years and disallowed from coming anywhere near a school and having to notify all their neighbors of their crimes for the rest of their life?! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:11PM (#27409599)

      My theory: Having children leads to the end of all meaningful morality.

      Morality is defined by what a reasonable person in society says it is. When people have children they are no longer reasonable, their genes don't let them be. It is paramount that a person's children be protected from any and all harm and given every advantage possible; because of this, parents can no longer judge what is in the best interest of society.

      I wish I could say I was joking more than I am. Unfortunately, I've had this conversation with someone before. Them: "You don't want universal healthcare, the quality of your care will go down". Me: "What if I value everyone having care more important that some hypothetical reduction to my care?". Them: "You'll understand once you have children".

      • by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:51PM (#27410089)
        Hmm... or what you think is meaningful morality when you're childless turns out to be meaningless, after your enlightenment comes when you finally reproduce.

        Neither is true, of course, and those sorts of arguments are completely irrational in and of themselves; they're all variants of well-known logical fallacies. It can be pretty much cleanly disproven by the fact that there are childless individuals, and people with children, on both sides of the argument.

        I love my children very much, and I am terrifically concerned about their future. Most of what I do is for the children. I do indeed 'think of the children.' That means that I would hate to see their human rights abrogated over a non-issue like a flirtatious picture. Concern for children isn't the problem; that's a good thing. Irrational and misplaced concern is the problem.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by honkycat (249849)

        Bull shit.

        A) Are you seriously claiming that people without children put aside their own self-interest and decide morality in some self-sacrificing manner for the good of society? What world are you living in? It clearly isn't this one.

        2) Because one parent made a statement you disagreed with about the complex and heavily debated topic of universal health care and (so you claim) they backed this up with a bogus reason pertaining to their children, you conclude that morality exists only due to childless pe

    • selfishness (Score:3, Insightful)

      witness the term "crotchfruit" and the way people who have kids are looked down upon

      and the general trend among all developed nations, not just the west, to stop having children

      they are just too messy, too much to bother

      of course, they are also your replacement after you are dead, but i guess that's a minor detail, somehow

  • "Atheists and liberal judges make child porn legal." Brit Hume reporting.

  • by huiwe (1292974) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:34PM (#27409157)

    The next step is to take action against those who deemed it protective of his charges to:

    1. access an electronic device without permission
    2. view personal images whose intended audience was limited to a chosen few (maybe one, not staff in general)
    3. fail to limit the negative impact on the life of his charges

    First step would be to seize the personal/work computers of the people involved to ensure copies of said photos has not been taken.

    At a minimum a transfer to a job where the people he responsibility for are only one pay grade below him, power trippers must be stopped and they hate that.

  • Goddamn DA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:36PM (#27409171)

    No, strike that - fucking overzealous DA.

    He was willing to ruin the lives of these kids, and for what?

    It's shit like this that makes the rest of the world shake their heads with pity at the US.

    • It's shit like this that makes the rest of the world shake their heads with pity at the US and Saudi Arabia

      Different outcomes but similar problems. Unable to distinguish between victim and perpetrator.

  • (btw, it happened in PENNSYLVANIA, not new jersey):

    http://prisonpost.com/blog/2009/02/20/pennsylvania-judges-plead-guilty-in-juvenile-center-kickback-scheme_227.html [prisonpost.com]

    At worst, Hillary Transue thought she might get a stern lecture when she appeared before a judge for building a spoof MySpace page mocking the assistant principal at her high school in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She was a stellar student who had never been in trouble, and the page stated clearly at the bottom that it was just a joke.

    Instead, the judge sentenced her to three months at a juvenile detention center on a charge of harassment.

    She was handcuffed and taken away as her stunned parents stood by.

    "I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare," said Hillary, 17, who was sentenced in 2007. "All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing."

    why was the judge so harsh?

    because he was getting kickbacks from the privately run prison

    let me repeat that: in the usa, children, who did not deserve to be sent to prison, were being sent to prison for minor offenses. why? because the prisons were being run PRIVATELY, there was a PROFIT MOTIVE. enter: one crooked judge eager to line his pockets, and you have a cash machine

    how evil is that? i mean really, how utterly shameful on us as americans that this took place? how shameful on us that we allowed the fiscal and legal environment in which PRIVATE PRISONS even fucking exist!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/us/14judge.html?fta=y [nytimes.com]

    Several hundred families filed a class-action suit Friday against two Pennsylvania judges who pleaded guilty on Thursday to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks for sending juveniles to private detention facilities.

    "At the hands of two grossly corrupt judges and several conspirators, hundreds of Pennsylvania children, their families and loved ones, were victimized and their civil rights were violated," said Michael J. Cefalo, one of the lawyers representing the families. "It's our intent to make sure that the system rights this terrible injustice and holds those responsible accountable."

    Pennsylvania lawmakers called on Friday for hearings into the state's juvenile justice system. And the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, which blew the whistle on the judges, said it had sworn affidavits from families who said they had sought court-appointed counsel but were told that their children would have to wait weeks, sometimes months, for a lawyer. During that time, the children would have to remain in detention, the families said.

    ok, so we have enron, we have this gem, we have the recent stock market crash

    dear fiscal conservatives and republitards: why exactly do you want to privatize and deregulate everything?

    i await your stunning insight as to how its all the democrats fault, when this private prison debacle and something like enron and the recent stock market meltdown are clear and obvious indications as to why, no, some things in this world you actually do not want to privatize and deregulate, that you actually want to keep utlities and prisons in the hands of the government, and you want to regulate the markets, for their own good. i now await your usual regurgitated kneejerk drivel about tax and spend democrats and socialism. well yes, actually, democrats are tax and spend. as opposed to republicans, who are just spend (all deficits climb sky high under republicans and are reduced under democrats: study past administrations). and as for socialism: yes, democrats actually do care enough to say gee, maybe its wrong middle class hardworking folks have to declare bankruptcy when they get a serious illness

    "bloated government bureaucracy... blah blah blah... welfar

    • by Calithulu (1487963) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:40PM (#27409911)

      Or... and I posit this entirely theoretically, it might be best if we take the approach that both the liberal and conservative viewpoints have some merit and we should work to create reasonable compromises in politics, government, and all laws.

      Of course, that's just me talking. But based on the rhetoric and vitriol we see regarding politics in the media, on the web, and in other venues I appear to be the last centrist.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @02:56AM (#27412933) Journal

        Or... and I posit this entirely theoretically, it might be best if we take the approach that both the liberal and conservative viewpoints have some merit and we should work to create reasonable compromises in politics, government, and all laws.

        Thing is, if you look at the spectrum of these things outside of your country - say, let's limit the set to other true liberal representative democracies - your "liberal" and "conservative" viewpoints are really "rather conservative" and "batshit fucking insane", respectively. Any "reasonable compromise" between them isn't going to be any more reasonable than either one of them, which really isn't a lot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You blame this on Republicans, but both of the judges on this case were Democrats.
      I was unable to find any information about who made the decision to contract out the detention centers to the company involved, but the references I found indicated that Luzerne County politics is dominated by Democrats, which suggests that it was Democrats who were responsible for this particular privatization.
      So this case doesn't work out as such a good indictment of Republicans. When you are trying to support your oppos
  • The right thing (Score:2, Insightful)

    It seems that a lot of people are suing/pressing charges for just about anything and everything these days. Its a shame when it comes to try and press charges on teenage girls for taking photographs of themselves. While I do not agree with what they were doing, it was in there power. They were not being forced against their will or doing anything sexually explicit. That is the definition of child pornography. Its good to see that the court has some sense.
  • ... The ACLU just stepped in to help stop a meaningless prosecution of a victimless event that somehow has been pushed around as a "crime".

    But for some reason we're still supposed to look at the ACLU as evil?
    • Just because Hitler helped develop the Volkswagion, that doesnt make him a great guy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      But for some reason we're still supposed to look at the ACLU as evil?

      As I understand the argument put forward by our more reactionary friends, they would like the ACLU more if they also duplicated the work of the NRA. Presumably that organisation doesn't fulfill its remit to their satisfaction, and they'd like the ACLU to lend a hand?

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @08:35PM (#27410553) Journal

        they would like the ACLU more if they also duplicated the work of the NRA. Presumably that organisation doesn't fulfill its remit to their satisfaction, and they'd like the ACLU to lend a hand?

        I don't want them to duplicate the work of the NRA, I just want them to acknowledge that the 2nd amendment protects a civil liberty that's every bit as important as the rest. Instead they claim [aclu.org] that "In our view, neither the possession of guns nor the regulation of guns raises a civil liberties issue." One doubts they would make the same claim about the regulation of free speech, hence they are hypocrites. Because of that, most people who care about gun rights can not bring themselves to donate money/join the ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union, eh?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The ACLU has joined the NRA on gun rights cases before. However, part of the reason they routinely ignore 2nd amendment cases is because the NRA already has it covered. I have always found it odd that conservatives revile the organization that supports 90% of the bill of rights while championing the one that supports only %10 instead. Oddly, they say they do it because the ACLU doesn't support the 2nd amendment, ignoring the fact that the NRA ignores 90% of the bill of rights altogether.
  • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:01PM (#27409459)
    Just asking. I mean, the girls were dragged though court for a year now, publicly embarrassed and probably get a psychic damage for lifetime just because they dared to send some pictures of themselves. And now the court says: "OK, so you were right, sorry for the bother, have a good life."? So everything is fine now as justice is served? Am I the only one who finds this picture a bit awkward?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shakrai (717556)

      I mean, the girls were dragged though court for a year now

      Umm, have you read ANY of the stories about this case? The DA has threatened to charge them. They haven't been "dragged" anywhere more menacing than a conference room as yet.

      and probably get a psychic damage for lifetime

      Oh please. This whole thing smells like bullshit but I'm growing weary of hearing people play the "damaged for a lifetime" card. If they are like the teenagers I know their reaction is probably somewhere between smugness and indifference. Either way, it takes more than a few meetings with an asshole DA to damage most people for "a

  • by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:39PM (#27409891) Journal

    I'm so sick of this myth that naked pictures cause problems. The shame associated with nudity (and even sex) says more about 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?

    The shame that our society attaches to nudity and sex is an attempt at prohibition. By making it taboo, it becomes enticing. Just like with alcohol, drugs, and prostitution, this forces it underground. Poor debaters will also use the taboo nature of the subject to stifle honest discussion by suggesting that supporters engage in the prohibited acts (i.e. those who defend these children are pedophiles who want easy access to CP, those who defend drug users are junkies, etc).

    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 "potentially permanent burdens" has done more to create those exact burdens than the act itself would have?

    When will we learn that over-protecting our children is hurting them by stunting their social growth? When they turn 18 and go off to college, an over-protected teenager will not be equipped with the proper skills necessary to navigate a world full of people who want to take advantage of them.

    As for the fear that there will be an explosion of new child porn if it's legal for minors to take pictures of themselves...further application of this logic leads to support for banning bullets because their existence leads to an "explosion" of homicides involving guns.

    Also, consider that teenagers are already doing this, and in a quantity deserving of its own slang description.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blackest_k (761565)

      Libby Hoeler maybe, as far as I know the video's have been floating round the net for 6-9 years now and chances are will always be around.

    • The problem isn't the shame associated with nudity. It's the reputation that's going to follow these girls throughout high school and college. When I was in middle school, one of the students found an issue of a certain men's magazine in which our illustrious teacher was baring all. She had posed during college because she needed the money, and yet, here, 15 or 20 years later, the centerfold was displayed on the chalkboard when she walked into the classroom. After everyone had been seated and seen it.

  • civil disobedience (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kyoko21 (198413) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @09:12AM (#27414885)

    One way to make a point, why not just have all your friends sexting to each other, make a facebook page, make it a facebook group, twitter about it, chose a day, and everyone participate in an act of civil disobedience. What are they going to do? Prosecute every single teenager that has a cell phone? This forces the law to react because clearly the law has been applied incorrectly because someone decided that it was easier to punish the few but the will of the masses to demand common sense will prove just in the end.

    So my question is, when is the National Sexting Day going to take place?

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