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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Attorney: Va. 'Revenge Porn' Bill Makes Bad Manners a Crime

 
Legal Counsel to the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee and NBC12 Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin thinks the Revenge Porn bill is unconstitutional and yet Virginia’s Delegates and Senators passed it anyway!  

Virginia should not be passing laws that are vague, unworkable and violate our Constitution. Lawmakers are placing the burden of proving the validity of laws in the courts onto the citizens of Virginia who must bank-roll a challenge and be willing to invest years of their time to prove it should have never been passed in the first place.  

It’s the Legislatures job to vet proposed State laws, NOT the citizens.   

At best the Virginia General Assembly should have made this a civil matter, not a criminal one! 

Mary
 

Attorney: Va. 'revenge porn' bill makes bad manners a crime, March 1, 2014

Could a bill making "revenge porn" a crime punishable by jail time actually be unconstitutional? 

The bill is now heading to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's desk, but critics say it's a case of lawmakers trying to legislate morality. 

"Revenge porn" is the practice of posting an ex-lover's naked photos online. The bill would make posting "revenge porn" online punishable by up to a year in jail. 

"It's about time," said Richmond resident Anita Denny. "That's pretty good. That's going to stop a lot of people from doing that, and maybe it will stop people from sending those type of pictures also." 

NBC 12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin says the law has flaws. 

"We've made bad manners a crime," said Benjamin. "Because that's really all it is. The crime doesn't apply if you are licensed or authorized to disseminate the photograph. Now what in the world does that mean? I'm a lawyer, and I don't know." 
 

We contacted the sponsor of the bill, Delegate Rob Bell, R-Albemarle. 

"The damages are more than you can ever get back," said Delegate Bell. "That's the kind of thing where we look for criminal penalties. It is what we call a class one misdemeanor. It's the same as shoplifting or trespassing or assault and battery." 

Benjamin says there are many legal questions. 

"If this bill does pass into law," said Benjamin. "I think it will be struck as unconstitutional because one you can't understand it, and number two it's preventing people from doing something with their own property with a photograph that was taken with everyone's consent." 

Delegate Bell says he expects the governor to sign the bill. Maryland lawmakers also passed a revenge porn bill in the House of Delegates. The punishment would be up to 2 years in prison and a $500 fine.




Note:
Details Emerge in Lunsford Photo Scandal (Virginia), September 25, 2013
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford
C.A. Lunsford is the requestor of HB326 and she was the C.A. who spoke in favor of the bill during session