Some Good Common Sense

April 23, 2009 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

In the previous post I talked about the importance of context. Here’s a refreshing example of the law taking context into account: a bill making its way through the Unicameral would provide exceptions to certain sex crimes so that youths don’t end up being dogged by a “sex offender” label for the rest of their lives. I don’t know how often it has happened in Nebraska (if at all), but across the country teens have had to register as sex offenders as a result of charges resulting from sexting and similar activities. The unfortunate result is that those individuals have a hard time finding places to live and work due to the stigma associated with the label.

That’s not to say sexting itself (and related activities) shouldn’t be illegal. There are good public policy reasons to prohibit the practice. But doesn’t it seem bizarre that two people who can legally have sex (and even, in some cases, get married) can’t take and store nude photos of one another for fear of being labeled child pornographers?

Unfortunately, commenting has been disabled on the LJS article so we don’t get to see what those folks have to say. I am curious what you folks think. Is this, as I contend, a good example of the law making good use of context?

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CP April 27, 2009 at 2:46pm

When I worked in Colorado, one of my coworkers found her 17 year old son in a similar position. He decided to set up a KaZaa server sharepoint on his home computer so that he could download stuff faster from the p2p network. All done very innocently. About 6 months later the police came knocking on their door… apparently someone was sharing child porn and the server they tracked it down to was the one in their house. Her son was convicted and - by rule, as there was no latitude in the law - labeled a sex offender, despite never having actively participated. The judge granted an exception that allowed him to attend school, but he was not allowed to attend extra-curriculuar activities his Junior or Senior year of high school.

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