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ACLU Wins, No Sexting Charges For NJ Teens 406

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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  • 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:NJ? Really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by JCSoRocks ( 1142053 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:21PM (#27408959)
    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.
  • Re:pix plz (Score:2, Informative)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:22PM (#27408961) Homepage Journal

    Would you be referring to good old Rule 34 [xkcd.com]? :)

  • Re:Reasoning? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Slurgi ( 892128 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:26PM (#27409045)

    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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

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

    by oliphaunt ( 124016 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @06:40PM (#27409205) Homepage

    right. first you get a temporary order. Then the court looks at the briefs, and maybe even asks for oral arguments. Then the judge decides if he needs to make the order permanent.

    That's how the process works.

  • (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 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!

  • Re:Reasoning? (Score:2, Informative)

    by basementman ( 1475159 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @07:49PM (#27410049) Homepage
    Common misconception, naked pictures do not constitute child porn. The images need to be sexual as well. This is why the nude pics of me in the bath when I was 3 are not illegal. And no I will not email you them.
  • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @08:14PM (#27410363) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @08:15PM (#27410381)
    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 opposition to policies you believe to be "republican", it would be a good idea not to base it on the actions of Democrats.
  • 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?

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @10:53PM (#27411605) Journal

    Bolding the part you like doesn't make the part that says "the right of the people" go away.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @11:02PM (#27411673) Journal

    Do you think it is a fundamental right that I can possess, for example, a bomb large enough to destroy the city I live in?

    Historically the right to keep and bear arms originated in the Common Law concept of self-defense. It has also been required at varying points throughout history so that the people could serve the state in times of need. I don't think even the hardest core 2nd amendment supporter could make the case that you need a nuclear weapon for self-defense or service of your state in times of need.

    it is only a matter of degree to argue that a fully automatic weapon, say, can be banned without violating civil rights.

    If it was only automatic weapons they wanted to ban you wouldn't have as many people complaining about it. Instead they want to ban semi-automatic "assault rifles" (which are no more powerful than the typical semi-automatic hunting rifle and whose main difference seems to be that they look scary), handguns, high capacity magazines, etc, etc. Every single one of those items has a legitimate purpose for self-defense, service to the state and other (hunting/target shooting/etc) purposes. Hell, one could make the argument that fully automatic weapons have legitimate purposes too and it's a bit of a stretch between a fully automatic MP-5 and your nuclear weapon example.

  • In the US there are no such things as "Democrats" or "Republicans". You have the right (calling themselves Democrats) and the far right (calling themselves Republicans).

    Right is the side that strives towards monarchies or keeping an elite group in power, usually trying to keep the state and church together for more influence to rule the populace. They also use nationalism as a state religion to feed their military.

    Both parties are equally not interested in a democracy nor a republic.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday March 31, 2009 @11:13PM (#27411731) Journal

    Correction: They work against what you believe is the foundational civil liberty. They don't agree with you. The fact that your opinion and their opinion differ is not hypocrisy

    You don't see the hypocrisy in fighting for as broad of a reading of the Constitution as possible except for one part? They fight for rights that aren't even mentioned in the document (the right to privacy) under this theory but the one part of the document that they don't like doesn't get the same treatment? That doesn't seem just a little bit hypocritical to you?

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Wednesday April 01, 2009 @12:47AM (#27412273) Homepage

    No, it really doesn't. If you read the words and decide, based on a reasonable interpretation (which the militia clause certainly gives you), that the Constitution explicitly allows the government some regulation over guns, it seems perfectly reasonable to say so, even if you believe that it doesn't explicitly allow regulation of some other things.

    First no one said the Constitution prohibits all "regulation" of firearms. That's not true. It simply sets a very high bar for this, just as it sets a very high bar for "regulating" speech. (I keep putting quotes around "regulate" because the word has come to be used today in a way it was certainly not used in the 18th century - the word just meant "to make regular." A common procedure for a gunsmith in those days was to "regulate" a bore that had deteriorated, for instance, which just meant eliminating the irregularities in it. When the federal government was supposed to "regulate" interstate commerce this meant to eliminate irregularities such as one state charging protectionist tarrifs on the produce of another state. It's been twisted and expanded beyond all recognition to where today anytime congress sticks its nose into something it is said to be "regulating" it even when there is no other connection at all with the root meaning of the word, but I digress.)

    Now that said, the militia clause absolutely does NOT in ANY way make it "reasonable" to interpret the amendment away. This is one of the most frustrating myths to deal with because it's so easily and thoroughly debunked by a simple grammatical analysis a normal 6th grader should have no trouble with, and keeps getting spread by people who clearly should know better - more evidence of that general hypocrisy I mentioned earlier. It really holds no water at all. A subordinate clause just doesnt function that way in English, and certainly didnt function that way in 18th century English. See here [constitution.org] if you really dont understand what I'm talking about.

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