Judge Puts Teen Sexting Case on Hold – Tells Prosecutor Naked Teens on Cell Phones is Not Porn

dont sext

It was a Federal judge – Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart – who famously said of pornography, “I know it when I see it,” and this week, forty-five years later, another Federal judge has said of naked pictures of teens being sent by cell phone (also known as sexting), “this ain’t it.”

In the case, which is but one more in a long case of high profile sexting incidents, the prosecutor in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, is attempting to charge three teenaged girls with child pornography for having sent lacivious pictures of themselves to classmates.


The charges have some precedent. In October, a Licking Valley (yes, really) teenager was charged with felony child pornography for sending a picture of herself to classmates, and faces, among other things, having to register as a sex offender for the next twenty years. Licking Valley is in Ohio.

However, in the Pennsylvania case, the judge looked at the pictures and issued the judicial equivalent of “Are you kidding?!” One of the pictures featured one of the girls with a towel draped around herself, with her breasts showing, and the other picture showed the other two girls in their brassieres.

In granting a motion by the ACLU to stop the prosecution, at least preliminarily, US District Judge James M. Munley opined “While the court emphasizes that its view is preliminary and not intended to absolve the plaintiffs of any potential criminal liability, plaintiffs make a reasonable argument that the images presented to the court do not appear to qualify in any way as depictions of prohibited sexual acts.”

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The Judge also found that the evidence suggested (as, indeed, did the ACLU in their defense of the girls) that the defendants weren’t even the ones who had caused the images to be transmitted.

What this all means then is that this is not necessarily a blow for prosecution of sexting cases as much as it is a blow for stupid prosecutors who don’t do their homework before filing charges.

Perhaps it’s unfair to call the prosector ‘stupid’ – Puritanical may be more like it. Of the picture of the two girls – who were 13 years old at the time – in their bras, in which one was talking on the phone and the other flashing a peace sign, the prosecutor called the picture “provocative.”

 

Which probably tells us a whole lot more about where his mind is than what the girls were up to.

On an editorial note, according to the Register “Two of the three girls attended a slumber party two years ago where, according to the ruling, they were photographed from the waste up, each wearing a white, opaque bra.”

From the waste up? Must have been some slumber party!

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5 thoughts on “Judge Puts Teen Sexting Case on Hold – Tells Prosecutor Naked Teens on Cell Phones is Not Porn

  1. There was this one fellow at work who had new pictures all the time of teen? girls/young women nude from the waist up. These were his real life girlfriends.

  2. If the prosecutor thinks that’s “provocative”, then maybe law enforcement should take a trip to his house and take a look at what he has on his computer….
    anyway,as I recall from a long time ago,to be “pornograghy” it has to have an actual sex act in it. anything else is just nudity,which is not illegal. It doesn’t sound like these pictures were either! Plus in the case of the “lavacious acts”, well lavacious means “the flushing/draining of an organ” so i dunno if that quite qualifies either. hacking up some Flem from ones lungs could be considered a lavacious act really. thats the trouble nowadays, over zealous prosecutors want to call most ANYTHING pornography just to try to make a name for themselves. a guy in the city where I live was arrested and charged with child pornography because he took “family pictures” of his 2 little kids playing in the bath tub!! how silly. But i’m sure it must have ruined his reputation, made him lose his job, and friends, which probably sent him into financial ruin,especially after the lawyers fees. And there is no redress,no fixing this wrong, being found not guilty won’t help him any, because the damage had already been done.

  3. I beleive the prosectors should be forced to take a no expenses payed schooling at the Larry Flynn and Hugh Hefner school of what is and is not Pornography.

    :-)

  4. Great – love it! However, I have to quibble with the citation to Justice Stewart. He was speaking (in a concurrence opinion to the 1964 case JACOBELLIS v. OHIO) about *obscenity*, not merely pornography. Obscenity is what is wholly unprotected by the first amendment.

  5. I’ve seen an episode on the Tyra Banks show that tackled about Sexting. It was shocking to know that minors are fond of doing this kind behavior. They say they do because they want some boys to like them…which is a very lame reason.

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