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Mandatory Minimum Laws & Sex Laws: Unjust and ineffective.

 
 
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 02:02 am
I'm sure atleast a few of you are already aware of the Genarlow Wilson case. Where a 17 year old boy was convicted of child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year old girl. The 15 year old girl testified that the sex was consensual, but because she was not old enough to consent, under the statutory rape laws, Genarlow Wilson was convicted.

Under Georgia's Mandatory Minimum Laws, the conviction carried a mandatory sentence of 10 years without parole. After serving two and a half of those years, finally the supreme court stepped in and released Wilson from prison but did not overturn his conviction. He is still considered a sex offender, convicted of a felony. Wilson can not vote, he cannot own a gun, he cannot live or work anywhere within 1,000 feet of anywhere children may congregate, such as a school, a park, a library, or a swimming pool.

And anyone looking at a list of local sex offenders would see his name, his picture and the charge of "child molestation" next to it with no other details given about what his crime actually was.

Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg...

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14164614


But perhaps the most egracious example is the case of Christopher Handley, a devout comic book collector, who has purchased thousands of comic books, graphic novels, anime, manga, on every topic imaginable from around the world. During an inspection by postal officers of one of the orders he placed, they found manga containing illustrations with nudity of anime characters that looked underage. (How they can establish the age of a cartoon in a comic book is anyone's guess).

He was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He was advised to plead guilty, is now considered a registered sex offender, and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/05/manga-porn/

How do you feel about such laws? About the cases above?
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Centroles
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 02:47 am
These are by no means isolated instances. There are many cases of kids charged for posting and emailing nude photos of themselves. And several states that define sex with a first cousin as felony incest deserving of "up to life in prison," though this is a consensual act.

All of these are considered sex "crimes" and many states have those convicted automatically added to the Sex Offender's Public Registry, diluting the list and making it near impossible to seperate the real violent criminals that do pose a danger from those who engaged in a consensual act.

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ONE day in 1996 the lights went off in a classroom in Georgia so that the students could watch a video. Wendy Whitaker, a 17-year-old pupil at the time, was sitting near the back. The boy next to her suggested that, since it was dark, she could perform oral sex on him without anyone noticing. She obliged. And that single teenage fumble wrecked her life.

Her classmate was three weeks shy of his 16th birthday. That made Ms Whitaker a criminal. She was arrested and charged with sodomy, which in Georgia can refer to oral sex. She met her court-appointed lawyer five minutes before the hearing. He told her to plead guilty. She did not really understand what was going on, so she did as she was told.


She was sentenced to five years on probation. Not being the most organised of people, she failed to meet all the conditions, such as checking in regularly with her probation officer. For a series of technical violations, she was incarcerated for more than a year, in the county jail, the state women’s prison and a boot camp. "I was in there with people who killed people. It’s crazy," she says.

She finished her probation in 2002. But her ordeal continues. Georgia puts sex offenders on a public registry. Ms Whitaker’s name, photograph and address are easily accessible online, along with the information that she was convicted of "sodomy". The website does not explain what she actually did. But since it describes itself as a list of people who have "been convicted of a criminal offence against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offence", it makes it sound as if she did something terrible to a helpless child. She sees people whispering, and parents pulling their children indoors when she walks by.

The registry is a gold mine for lazy journalists. A local television station featured Ms Whitaker in a spot on local sex offenders, broadcasting a helpful map showing where she lives but leaving the specifics of the crime to each viewer’s fearful imagination. "My husband’s family saw me on TV," she says. "That’s embarrassing."


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In an obscenity first, a U.S. comic book collector has pleaded guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex abuse and bestiality.

Christopher Handley, described by his lawyer as a "prolific collector" of manga, pleaded guilty last week to mailing obscene matter, and to "possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children." Three other counts were dropped in a plea deal with prosecutors.

The 39-year-old office worker was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Handley’s guilty plea makes him the first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Comics fans are alarmed by the case, (.pdf), saying that jailing someone over manga does nothing to protect children from sexual abuse.

"This art that this man possessed as part of a larger collection of manga ... is now the basis for [a sentence] designed to protect children from abuse," says Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. "The drawings are not obscene and are not tantamount to pornography. They are lines on paper."

Congress passed the Protect Act after the Supreme Court struck down a broader law prohibiting any visual depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity, including computer-generated imagery and other fakes. The high court ruled that the ban was overbroad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions.
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 02:51 am
@Centroles,
Quote:
I'm sure atleast a few of you are already aware of the Genarlow Wilson case. Where a 17 year old boy was convicted of child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year old girl. The 15 year old girl testified that the sex was consensual, but because she was not old enough to consent, under the statutory rape laws, Genarlow Wilson was convicted.

Under Georgia's Mandatory Minimum Laws, the conviction carried a mandatory sentence of 10 years without parole. After serving two and a half of those years, finally the supreme court stepped in and released Wilson from prison but did not overturn his conviction. He is still considered a sex offender, convicted of a felony. Wilson can not vote, he cannot own a gun, he cannot live or work anywhere within 1,000 feet of anywhere children may congregate, such as a school, a park, a library, or a swimming pool.

And anyone looking at a list of local sex offenders would see his name, his picture and the charge of "child molestation" next to it with no other details given about what his crime actually was.

Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg...

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14164614


My feeling about this case is that it is absolutely ridiculous and tragic. What a waste- both of this boy's life - but also the taxpayer's money.
Quote:

In an obscenity first, a U.S. comic book collector has pleaded guilty to importing and possessing Japanese manga books depicting illustrations of child sex abuse and bestiality.

Christopher Handley, described by his lawyer as a "prolific collector" of manga, pleaded guilty last week to mailing obscene matter, and to "possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children." Three other counts were dropped in a plea deal with prosecutors.

The 39-year-old office worker was charged under the 2003 Protect Act, which outlaws cartoons, drawings, sculptures or paintings depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, and which lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Handley’s guilty plea makes him the first to be convicted under that law for possessing cartoon art, without any evidence that he also collected or viewed genuine child pornography. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Comics fans are alarmed by the case, (.pdf), saying that jailing someone over manga does nothing to protect children from sexual abuse.

"This art that this man possessed as part of a larger collection of manga ... is now the basis for [a sentence] designed to protect children from abuse," says Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. "The drawings are not obscene and are not tantamount to pornography. They are lines on paper."

Congress passed the Protect Act after the Supreme Court struck down a broader law prohibiting any visual depictions of minors engaged in sexual activity, including computer-generated imagery and other fakes. The high court ruled that the ban was overbroad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions.


This one I'd have to know more about - actually see the material - before I could make any comment about how I feel about it.
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