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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison 1127

An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago, Matthew White searched Limewire for porn. He was looking for 'College Girls Gone Wild,' but ended up downloading some images of child pornography. This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images. A year later, the FBI showed up on his family's doorstep and asked to search the computer. After thorough sleuthing, the FBI found some images 'deep within the hard drive.' According to White, the investigators agreed that he himself could not have accessed the files anymore. Matthew now faces 20 years in jail for possession of child pornography. On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender. 'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.'"
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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison

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  • It happens (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dartz-IRL ( 1640117 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:33PM (#30335638)

    Spammers on a worksafe imageboard I occasionally visit sometimes upload it to the place. I report it to the board's administrator via IRC....which is logged... and purge private history. It is such an easy thing to have happen. Hell, a google search with safesearch off can do it.

    This is 'won't somebody please think of the children' gone way to far.

    And the public defender encouraging him to plead guilty? That lawyer should be fired for incompetance. How can someone be guilty of a crime they never had any intention of committing, and took active steps to actually avoid committing it?

    I mean... I've bought second-hand HDD's that have been zeroe'd and formatted. Could I be potentially liable if the previous owner had been a kiddie-porn freako? The images might still be buried deep in the disk after all.

  • FBI bait? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joetheappleguy ( 865543 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:37PM (#30335684) Homepage
    I bet that's what the guy downloaded, given the description of how the FBI just shows up and knows exactly what to look for.

    If so, the good luck explaining your way out of that.
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:40PM (#30335722) Homepage Journal
    ... to fire his attorney and enter a plea of not guilty. If I were him I would fight to the end to avoid the felony conviction. They said he is in his early twenties with no criminal record - why screw that up now? Even if he spent years fighting the charges, and drove himself to bankruptcy in the process, it would still be less of a problem to his future than taking the felony conviction and serving 3.5 years in prison.
  • Re:FBI bait? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MakinBacon ( 1476701 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:40PM (#30335732)
    I've always wondered, if the FBI tries to lay bait, would that make them guilty of distributing child porn?
  • Prison Sentences (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iskender ( 1040286 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:41PM (#30335738)

    Whatever the (dis)merits of the application of the law are here you Americans really, really need to shorten your prison sentences.

    Where I live (Finland), it's hard to actually be imprisoned for 20 years even if you murder someone. Sure, technically killers get lifetime sentences, but they are mostly let out after a decade or so.

    And despite us technically having lots of killers and other criminals on the loose, this country is very safe. I believe the science actually says that prisons manufacture and "enhance" criminals.

  • Wow is this scary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by labradore ( 26729 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:54PM (#30335878)
    I don't know about you, but some times I've come across porn that I think of as a little bit marginal. I also don't like the idea of someone digging up deleted files on my hard disk. It seems like a good idea to have a tool that scrambles all the bits on the free space of your hard disk overnight and during idle periods. Does anyone know if such a thing exists?
  • by Dunkirk ( 238653 ) * <david@Nospam.davidkrider.com> on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:55PM (#30335886) Homepage

    What this speaks -- loudly and clearly -- to me is that the national tapping of any and all communication lines is complete. And, when things are slow and the FBI can't find a terrorist cell or -power group to take down, they troll their logs, and look to hang someone that no one would defend.

    I'm sure that both the EFF and the ACLU will jump in here any minute now...

    It just makes the case for using cryptography in everything you do online. I don't know how far it goes though. It may be that they finally laid off Zimmerman because they have enough horsepower to break anything that bubbles up to the surface as potentially interesting.

  • by rliden ( 1473185 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:58PM (#30335936)

    'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately.'

    At which point you've just confessed to trafficking in child porn. No, the proper thing to do is have a secure file deletion utility to nuke all evidence on your system.

    No. Just buy a new hard drive and destroy the old one. Open the old hard drive and use a sawsall to cut the disks in to little pieces and scatter them.

  • He Should Argue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @12:59PM (#30335948) Homepage Journal
    Hasn't the music industry spent billions of dollars in advertisement and legal fees trying to convince us illegal downloading of music harms the music industry?

    If so we should be thanking this man for harming the supporters of child pornography. Even if it was unintentional and immediately deleted.

    Now I am going to destroy any credibility I had by quoting Captain Jean-Luc Picard. "I don't know how to communicate this, or even if it is possible. But the question of justice has concerned me greatly of late. And I say to any creature who may be listening, there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute. Even life itself is an exercise in exceptions. "
  • He's screwed NOW (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NoYob ( 1630681 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:04PM (#30335990)
    Mathew White is ALL over the internet and news wires. Even if the prosecutors say they were mistaken and drop the charges, this poor bastard is already fucked.

    He will never get employment and maybe he will even get killed by a vigilante who knows the kid is guilty.

    And for those of you named Mathew White, you're going to have to deal with it too on some level - people like to jump to conclusions.

    This is were the Internet shows its evil side.

  • Re:FBI bait? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#30336090)
    The FBI bait sites are awesome, because they don't care how downloaded the image, just that you made the request. So, people have found out what the bait images are, apparently, and like to "FBI Roll" people by either linking to them directly, or even better, putting them as a 1x1 image hidden somewhere on an innocuous page. That way you never even see it, but it's in your browser cache now, so when the FBI comes knocking after your download, it'll be there. Somebody needs to step this program up a notch, and start FBI rolling every major newscaster, reporter, media executive, and politician (big and small). Until that happens, nobody gives a shit. Nobody cares that some innocent guy goes to jail for 3.5 years and can never get a job ever again and dies homeless, nobody cares in the slightest. Nobody even cares when a 17 year old girl gets 10 years for taking a pic of her tits and sending it to her boyfriend. Because she's a pedophile, it says so right here in the charges, anybody defending her is also a pedophile. And in fact, since she's underage, anybody defending her is a DOUBLE pedophile. You can imagine, a double pedophile is not something you want to be. That's right, the war on child porn is so bad, people won't even care about a white, privileged, teenage girl! I think you'd have to get every last person in the house and senate indited at once, because if you even only got half of them, the other half would turn on them like rabid wolves, cheering and applauding that the bait system works.
  • by apocal ( 445331 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:33PM (#30336268)

    nonsense. The which hunt is not attack. Attack would be to get the picture and sent it to the judge, jury and everyone in the court room. That way they're all guilty if they "accidentally" get the picture on their computer.

    A friends brother left their computer with auto-accept on DCC and someone uploaded a kiddie pic on his computer. He also faced 25-years in prison. The judge saw past the prosecutors nonsense and put him on probation. But before that, FBI raided his house, and took computers and what not.

    This is all BULLSHIT. FBI can go to hell since they're clearly attacking innocent people.

  • by 2PAIRofACES ( 302747 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:34PM (#30336290)

    I have to assume this guy is not guilty, not because of the presumption of innocence, but rather by the lack of accessible cp on his computer. Pedophiles don't just quit cold turkey, and even if he is a pedophile, quit cold turkey (doesn't happen), hey great, he's fixed his problem on his own. Going with that:

    Where does the government keep finding 12 morons to vote guilty in the jury box? I know this particular guy's case isn't going to a jury, but his lawyer seems to think he's screwed if he does. With easy to explain facts like this, both the DA (who wouldn't bring charges that would hurt his win %) and defense thinks there is a high likely hood of conviction? Are you kidding me?

    And how many CRAZY guilty verdicts have we read about? Why are juries stacked with idiots too stupid to see that they could just as likely be in the defendant's seat for a multitude of offenses?

    Quick side story: *all numbers, except age are fudged to prevent recrimination* I'm 32 (so far so good on my plan to outlive Jesus) and have been on a Jury 1 time. It was a drug charge, which I kinda figured out during jury selection based on the questions I was asked, so I shaped my answers accordingly. It ended up being a trial of a 19 year old kid found with 5 marijuana plants in a "grow box" (nice setup, bought online for like 2k, could of built his own for 800). The prosecution presented their case, the defense only called the defendant, who swore up and down that they were only for personal use (we're not in a medical marijuana state), and the defendant pretty much begged for mercy. I swear at this point one of my co-juror's started to tear up. Final arguments came and went, and then the Judge, the last arbiter of law said (paraphrasing here) that we were only to determine if he possessed the plants, and if so, to find him guilty.

    We got back to the jury room and as I'm told we're not supposed to do, but always gets done regardless, we took a vote. 11-1. IANAL but I believed without knowing that if I gave my real reason for not wanting to convict that I'd be replaced (we had 2 alternates). I've never had to choose my wording so carefully, meanwhile the rest of the Jury kept saying things like : "the judge said we had to vote guilty" and "It doesn't matter if I think he did anything wrong, the judge said he did wrong" (that last one, I SWEAR TO GOD, was uttered word for word, i will never forget a syllable). It took 2 hours of carefully worded analogies to sway 1 other to my side, from there we got to 3 in 10 minutes, at 4, the whole room switched. Let me say that again, at 4 ppl, the remaining 8 switched over, not out of a sense of civic duty, but because they were tired and wanted to go home. WITH A MAN'S LIFE IN THE BALANCE.

    When we returned our verdict, the judge didn't look at what the foreman wrote (he opened it, looked at its general direction and refolded it), when the foreman not guilty, the Judge damn near fell out of his chair, the DA did a real life triple take, and the defense attorney looked like a deer in headlights. The point is that all 3 professionals INCLUDING the defense attorney, were shocked that the jury failed to rubber stamp guilty on this guy.

    After we were relieved 4 of the other jurors came to me and admitted thru conversation that they smoked pot and didn't want to vote guilty at all, but thought they had to because the judge had told them to. As they were talking, all I could think was, "So this is how democracy ends, with sheep"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:41PM (#30336350)

    I've provided technical services to public defenders for fifteen years and have worked on a number of cases similar to this one. Every legal case has a huge set of facts surrounding it that the general public isn't privy to. Some of those are exposed to the jury, if there is one. More are exposed to the judge. Still more are available to the DA and/or defense attorney. They all affect the legal strategy. Based on the tip of the iceberg we, the general public, are presented with, it's virtually impossible to say anything meaningful, let alone insightful. Acknowledging that massive limitation, here is my perspective:

    From the video, the kid presents well. If his record is clean, I question why his attorney isn't aiming for a plea of "not guilty" and a trial. PDs have a reputation for laziness and incompetence. Some of them deserve it. Others are better than the best attorneys money can buy. So this kid may be getting solid counsel - in which case, there is a good reason for him to avoid going to trial - or he may be stuck with a lousy attorney who doesn't want to work or doesn't know how to handle a case like this and wants to see it go away.

    In theory, if he's gonna plead guilty, the kid should enter an Alford plea. This is a variation of the guilty plea that says, "I maintain my innocence, but will plead guilty to get the best outcome." That said, DAs will often reject such a plea. The DA may be making an out-and-out guilty plea a requirement to plea bargain at all. Too, he may be aiming for an Alford plea and the press just isn't reporting it that way.

    Being put on the sex offender registry is a big deal. Your rights are significantly curtailed - for life. You'd be better off taking more prison time in lieu of the registry... if the DA is willing to even entertain such a deal.

    I would add that the legal system is mind-bogglingly inept when it comes to even mildly technical issues. I am considered an expert in my local legal community and have testified as such on multiple occasions. I consider myself to be competent but by no means expert. Watching / reviewing the testimony of other "experts" is blood curdling. You just wouldn't believe the junk "forensic science" presented (and accepted) as evidence. Attorneys, judges, and local law enforcement are quite clueless and accept what they're told, if it sounds sufficiently complicated or is delivered with adequate certainty. I've not dealt with the FBI before but would assume they are much more competent than that. With them on the prosecution's side, the defense would have a very hard time in court, regardless of the facts. I will say that the law enforcement unit in charge of investigating kiddie porn locally is pretty lame - their understanding of technical issues is superficial and their expertise focused on the usage of particular forensic software (specifically Encase).

  • Re:Prison Sentences (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:42PM (#30336354)

    And it might be noted that there are large numbers of nonviolent criminals in 'em...

    Who cares about that? So you think the guys at Enron who stole millions of dollars from their share-holders shouldn't go to jail for what they did?

    Or Bernie Madoff, who stole BILLIONS of dollars - wiping out whole families, I suppose he should just get a slap on the wrist eh? Lost all his assets, but those weren't really his anyway, right? And now he can just start another ponzie scheme and hook new people for millions of dollars, destroy hundreds of families, and live like a king for a few years until the government takes it away again. There is quite a hassle every time he loses all his money, but for the most part it isn't a bad life for an asshole to live, and he'll destroy hundreds of lives in the process.

    The point of prison has never been to punish the prisoner - those who think it is are fools. There is certainly a punishment element, but there are a hell of a lot cheaper and more effective ways to punish crimes if that's what we were after. Caning, whipping, cutting off hands for stealing, branding, forced servitude etc. are all far more effective than imprisonment. The punishments we use are primarily monetary - fines, losing assets, but we also do things like revoke the right to vote or own certain items (like guns). Those are all punishments.

    The only real purpose of prison is to remove the people who harm society from the society they harm. That's it. It's a separation mechanism so nobody else gets hurt. You put rapists in prison so they can't rape anybody else. You put murderers in prison so they can't murder anybody else (punishment would be execution - that's why they call it capitol punishment). You put fraudsters and con-men in prison so the can't defraud or con anybody else. Since separation is itself a punishment, people often confuse the purpose of the separation to be punishment when it is not. We simply don't have to add a punishment to the separation, since it is built in.

    The less harmful the crime, the sooner you let them out, because even though prison is not primarily used as punishment, people can and do correct their actions after spending some time in prison. So we let them out on the hope that they've changed their mind about their criminal activity. Some do, some don't.

    If you cheated on your taxes for the last 15 years, you probably won't do it any more after spending a year in jail, and you aren't incredibly harmful in the first place, so if you do it again we just throw you in jail for a longer sentance, no big deal. Murderers, on the other hand, need a long time in prison and careful consideration that they have reformed themselves during their prison sentance before being released, because if they have not reformed themselves then they will likely kill again - though there is a large benefit to the fact that they were unable to kill during their time in prison.

    So repeat after me: Prison is for separation, and separation is to keep criminals from doing more bad things to people, or harming society in general. Separation just happens to also be a form of punishment, which means we kill two birds with one stone. Keeping criminals away from non-criminals is the primary purpose, however, and that should not be forgotten.

  • Re:Bad Ideas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cicho ( 45472 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:46PM (#30336400) Homepage

    As you said, the guy brought the gun in, and got arrested. This is the story:

    Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun
    http://www.thisissurreytoday.co.uk/news/Ex-soldier-faces-jail-handing-gun/article-1509082-detail/article.html [thisissurreytoday.co.uk]

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:51PM (#30336456) Journal

    ...Imagine someone hating someone else (yes - that happens)

    that someone gets an idea based on White's misfortune:

    1) Send some kiddie porn images (or just family pictures of naked kids) to someone you hate
    2) Do it repeatedly a few times, just to make sure they land on his harddisk
    3) Secretly tip the Feds that he downloads child porn or has an interest in naked kids

    The feds seizes his harddisk, he says someone anonymous sent it to him, but it doesn't help him - because it could be a child porn ring - which he "perhaps" is a part of, and they found them deleted on his harddisk. He's basically screwed! You just killed a man.

  • by oddaddresstrap ( 702574 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @01:57PM (#30336524)

    The fact that your system appears to have been sanitized has been used in some cases to indicate guilt.

  • Devil's Advocate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kizor ( 863772 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:08PM (#30336640)
    I recently interviewed a Save the Children organization's representative over child pornography. She pointed out that the ample psychological harm caused by kid rape is compounded by the victim's awareness that depictions of the act are being spread and "enjoyed." What's your take on this? She had previously mentioned a gateway theory, ie. that less access to child porn results in fewer child molesters, but I'd have to see the numbers before coming to conclusion.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:31PM (#30336892)

    I call bullshit.

    It's perfectly legal for me to view images of children killed or adults being raped, no one seems to care though.

    Yes there are some people who will exploit children to create pornography and share it, but do you think that more people will create it and risk being caught if it is made legal?

    A horrific thought you say? Make kiddie porn legal?

    Child molestation is and always should be a crime. But don't you think there is something a little weird about making being a witness to a crime illegal?

    Making mere viewing of a crime illegal is dangerous territory my friends, would be a great way to frame someone though...

  • Re:do the math (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:35PM (#30336914)

    And even if you don't surf porn, and are generally careful with unknown links, you could still get caught e.g. by some XSS attack which loads CP into an invisible iframe, and thus puts it into your browser's cache.

    Also, I wonder how much CP ends up somewhere at Google's servers ...

  • by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @02:40PM (#30336962)

    Even if that was the case (which it isn't), then the crime would be called "creating a demand for child pornography" not "possession of child pornography". That isn't the purpose of these laws.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:10PM (#30337240)

    I just took a look at that monkey attack lady that appeared on Oprah, did I just create demand for more monkey attacks on people?

  • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:12PM (#30337262)

    Even if that was the case (which it isn't), then the crime would be called "creating a demand for child pornography" not "possession of child pornography". That isn't the purpose of these laws.

    Well, then we're getting down to arguing about why those laws were created - guidance which would be excellent for those interpreting the laws but (at least in the UK) sadly absent from most laws as written.

    I can think of another reason: it's much easier to prove someone possesses the images than it is to prove that they created them.

  • Re:Prison Sentences (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @03:28PM (#30337402)

    US prisons are for the most part owned and operated by private corporations for profit. The money isn't in letting prisoners go free. Hell we have judges getting kickbacks to send kids to juvie. [nytimes.com]

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:4, Interesting)

    by julesh ( 229690 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:09PM (#30337774)

    Then there's the case of "Traci Lords". She was a porn star who lied about her age and appeared in porn films and even Penthouse magazine when she was 15. So guess how many people might possess child porn unknowingly? Apparently those pictures and films are considered child porn by US laws.

    Along similar lines, consider that here in the UK it was legal to publish and/or possess porn featuring 16-year-olds until only a few years ago. Porn mags used to regularly publish pictures of 16 and 17 year olds. Tabloid "newspapers" often also featured such pictures.

    My guess is that this results in a situation where probably >10% of the population is currently guilty of a serious offence that they may well have no knowledge they have committed. This possibly includes a number of public libraries and/or newspaper publishers. I wonder if the offices of the Sun have destroyed the back copies of the papers they published that featured nude pictures of 16-year-old Linsey Dawn McKenzie [wikipedia.org]? Legally speaking, I believe they ought to have done, and technically somebody could do time over it if they haven't.

  • by AlexLibman ( 785653 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:15PM (#30337830)

    The mindless "kiddy porn" hysteria is out of control, and it's a canary in the coal-mine for further suppression of free speech, because all tyrannies wean themselves on suppressing the most unpopular freedoms first. Any dissident can now have doubleplusungood.png or crimethink.avi uploaded to his computer and deprived of his liberty for the rest of his life! (Being released from prison under the current "former sex offender" programs isn't much better than still being in prison!)

    In most cases "kiddy porn" doesn't even depict an actual crime (the "market" is over-saturated with millions, someday an accumulation of billions of high school idiots posting pictures of themselves, as I once did), but even if it does - viewing an image of a crime is not same as committing it! In a rational world, the alleged victim and/or her parents / guardians should decide whether rape has taken place, with "bad parents" being subject to social ostracism and the child's Natural Right to sue for emancipation (jury-granted full sovereignty or transfer of custody). When government force is put in charge of regulating family life, the former grows beyond all bounds and the latter collapses! All those victimless restrictions on human sexuality only encourage violent rape, or the psychological projection of violence into other aspects of one's life!

    No possible combination of 1's and 0's should EVER be illegal!

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @04:43PM (#30338088)

    Welcome to the landscape where you can no longer trust your state to be any better than the Taliban. I have watched our so called political representatives over the last twenty years since the demise of the soviet union become exactly like them. Respect for the individual has died in favour of convenience for the state. The West has failed and is doomed.

  • I've gone up against experienced lawyers (including the government 3 times) at least half a dozen times - I've won every time.

    Would you care to tell us more about these situations?

    Sure. One of them, I reported a couple for child abuse. No good deed goes unpunished, so next thing I know, one of them is claiming (along with a bribed witness - a promise of $25k) that I had made death threats to everyone involved, including the social workers I had reported it to, to prevent me from talking to them any more and try to discredit me.

    The prosecution offered to stay the charges if I signed a consent decree. My lawyer said should take it. I said "No way. This is a total lie, and there's nothing to stop them from doing it again. You're fired. I'll handle this myself."

    I then turned what was "supposed" to be a 2 to 4-hour trial into a 4-day circus, and enjoyed myself immensely. I knew the "witnesses" were lying, and I was able to not only prove it, but to make them look like total idiots. One had to be thrown out of the courtroom - twice - because they totally lost it (I can be VERY nasty in cross-examination when you lie under oath and can't say "I don't want to answer that LALALALA" - and screaming at the judge to make me stop didn't help them).

    The bribed "witness", I did some digging and took a lucky guess that they had a criminal record for making death threats, and that's how they came up with this scheme. I played my hunch (over the prosecutions' objections - goes to the witness' character and reliabiity, judge), and struck pay-dirt. They admitted to having been arrested, fingerprinted, tried, etc., for making death threats, but "couldn't remember" if they had been convicted. After 5 minutes of walking them through their repeated "I can't remember", the judge finally decided to get involved. "You were arrested?" "Yes" "You were brought to a room like this?" "Yes" "And you had a trial like this?" "Yes" "And what was the result?" "I don't remember."

    Judges don't like "convenient memory." In the end, there was not ONE single piece of credible evidence against me. The judge himself said he couldn't tell where the lies ended and shear fantasy began. No lawyer would have argued for 5 minutes with a judge over what seemed like a minor detail (but he finally saw the light, and after that, he had a newfound respect for my talent - and it was my questions immediately after that made one of the liars totally lose it).

    At one point when the lies got really deep - Judge: "You don't want to object to any of this? It's really damaging testimony. Me: "Not at all. I have 7 witnesses who will testify that I was in a different city at the time. Let them keep digging their hole." Judge: "Oh, okay."

    The judge criticized me afterwards for taking 4 days to prove my innocence when two would have sufficed, but I wouldn't have had as much fun making the liars squirm if I had kept it "strictly business." It wasn't as if it was costing me in legal fees, and I didn't want just "the benefit of the doubt" - I wanted a total and absolute no question about it victory - complete exoneration, with not a trace of doubt. Plus, I wanted my pound of flesh for having to put up with that sort of crap, as a warning not to even *think* about trying it again.

    Don't ever plead guilty to something you didn't do. The plea-bargain system is a corruption of justice.

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dimeglio ( 456244 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @07:04PM (#30339152)

    Or you can call them everyday, just in case, until they get the message. Make sure you only have a Commodore 64 with a tape drive.

  • by virg_mattes ( 230616 ) on Saturday December 05, 2009 @10:21PM (#30340500)

    But from my TV-watching experience, when you say "no" most of the time the good guys will whip out a warrant--they just asked to see if you'd cooperate, and refusing will inspire them to investigate more intensely. In fact the insubordinate but effective cop will likely break into your house anyway!

    This is why you should never get your legal experience from television. In the real world, no officer with a warrant will ask nicely "just to see if you'd cooperate". Also, if an officer broke into your house, nothing found would be admissible, and in the real world most judges will summarily dismiss a case where evidence has been gathered improperly, since these cases virtually always fall apart due to evidence being excluded.


  • Re:Public Defender (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 05, 2009 @11:55PM (#30340940)

    What a profound ignorance of the legal system. Public defenders do not have billable hours, and they certainly do not throw defendants under the bus by pleading out to satisfy some quota of cases every month. Before you sully with your ignorance an office of attorneys who play an integral role in the constitutional safeguards of the justice system, perhaps you should take the time to learn more about the process before posting in the future.

  • Re:Anonymous Coward (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paganizer ( 566360 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .1evorgeht.> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:02AM (#30341804) Homepage Journal

    I have some experience on this from the law enforcement side of things.
    I can see a few possibilities:
    1) They know the guy did something, but they can't back it up with evidence; they make a deal with the DA to bust him for what they CAN find evidence for.
    2) A lot of departments & agencies have dedicated child porn people; they have a soft quota that they have to meet to justify their budget. They might not have to bust 4 people a month, but if they don't bust close to 48 a year, they are going to lose funding.
    3) He pissed someone off. The DA may be a copyright vigilante, and the guy had tons of copyrighted stuff he had download. The image was the only thing they could use in a criminal prosecution. Or someone just didn't like him.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley