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Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions 383

Posted by timothy
from the and-maybe-they-can dept.
mikesd81 writes "In the first federal appeals court opinion dealing with 'sexting,' a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that parents could block the prosecution of their children on child pornography charges for appearing in photographs found on some classmates' cellphones. Miller vs. Mitchell (PDF) began in 2008 when school officials in Tunkhannock, Pa., discovered seminude and nude photographs of some female students on other student's phones. George Skumanick Jr., the DA at the time, said the students and their parents could be prosecuted if they did not participate in an after-school 'education program.' The unanimous ruling of the judges, Thomas L. Ambro, Michael A. Chagares and Walter K. Stapleton, criticized the district attorney's reliance on the girls' presence in the photographs as a basis for the potential charges. 'Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo,' said the opinion, by Judge Ambro."
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Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions

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  • Re:IANAL, but (Score:2, Informative)

    by spidercoz (947220) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:16PM (#31525520) Journal
    foolish ninja, schoolchildren don't have the same rights as real people, something I railed against when I was one
  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Informative)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:18PM (#31525536) Journal
    Sure, but do you educate, or forbid? The USA seems to focus on the latter, but when it comes to teen pregnancies, they sure seem to have a hell of a lot more of them than more liberal* countries.

    (* liberal meaning "free", not "leftie" though for some those two meanings are the same).
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:31PM (#31525760) Journal

    By "interfere" you mean "buy them condoms", right?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:37PM (#31525870) Journal

    Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped)

    Not all under age sex is rape. Even if you accept the legal fiction that people under a certain age are incapable of consent, the age of consent differs from the age of majority in many places. In fact, people have been prosecuted for child pornography after taking pictures of perfectly legal sex acts. Hell, in my state a few years ago a man was sent to prison for having sex with his wife who he legally married in another state.

  • That's Jewish though Christians say it too. However they add you can only multiply when granted a church license called marriage. Muslims along with some Christian sects also allow males to have more than one spouse, but females can only have one. Which is called polygyny [onelook.com] not polygamy [onelook.com]. Now if they allowed females to have more than one spouse as well as males then it would be polygamy.

    Falcon

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:05PM (#31526432) Journal

    A healthy understanding of sex includes an understanding of the risks, and the necessary precautions. What it does not involve, in any way whatsoever, is guilt. That's what you seem to be arguing for though. Correct me if I'm misunderstanding you.

  • Voluntary? (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:23PM (#31526790) Journal
    The District Attorney needs to go to vocabulary re-education class:

    "Participation in the program is voluntary," the letter said. "Please note, however, charges will be filed against those that do not participate or those that do not successfully complete the program."

    Except in OrwellWorld(TM), "obey or be prosecuted" is not "voluntary".

    "Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo," said the opinion, by Judge Ambro.

    Not noted in the article was that Judge Ambro specifically credited Captain Obvious, Esq. for his amicus brief on this subject.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:37PM (#31527110) Homepage Journal

    You presume that you will always make better choices than your children will?

    Spoken like a true teenager [pbs.org].

    At the McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., Deborah Yurgelun-Todd and a group of researchers have studied how adolescents perceive emotion as compared to adults. The scientists looked at the brains of 18 children between the ages of 10 and 18 and compared them to 16 adults using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Both groups were shown pictures of adult faces and asked to identify the emotion on the faces. Using fMRI, the researchers could trace what part of the brain responded as subjects were asked to identify the expression depicted in the picture.

    The results surprised the researchers. The adults correctly identified the expression as fear. Yet the teens answered "shocked, surprised, angry." And the teens and adults used different parts of their brains to process what they were feeling. The teens mostly used the amygdala, a small almond shaped region that guides instinctual or "gut" reactions, while the adults relied on the frontal cortex, which governs reason and planning.

    As the teens got older, the center of activity shifted more toward the frontal cortex and away from the cruder response of the amygdala.

    How old are you? In almost all cases, an adult WILL make better choices than a teenager will.

    I've been a teenager, and I'm the father of two former teenagers. I think I know what I'm talking about here.

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:03PM (#31527682)

    At this preliminary stage we conclude that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on their claims that any prosecution would not be based on probable cause that Doe committed a crime, but instead in retaliation for Doe's exercise of her constitutional rights not to attend the education program. Therefore, we affirm the grant of a preliminary injunction and remand for further proceedings

    The judges are asserting that there is a likelihood that the prosecutor was retaliating by threatening to prosecute because the Does were seeking to exercise their rights under the law. Isn't this barratry?

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