Monday, October 27, 2014

Truth-Out: Brutal Crimes Don't Justify Bad Laws By Jean Trounstine

A Must Read!

Brutal Crimes Don't Justify Bad Laws, October 26, 2014
By Jean Trounstine
A true tragedy, driven by a media frenzy, often provokes a misguided need to do something as quickly as possible and leads to bad public policy - like California's Three Strikes sentencing law. 

Massachusetts Juvenile Judge Jay D. Blitzman got it right when he explained in 2008 why brutal crimes so often lead to bad laws. In an article for the Barry Law Review he wrote: "As the public and media react to the crime du jour, there is an unfortunate tendency to legislate by anecdote." Stories gain momentum, get fueled in the press, and can be used for political advantage by the powers that be, and before we know it, the need for change, and in some cases, vengeance, turns too quickly into ill-conceived laws.

Virginia Revisits Penalties for Teen Sexting, By Frank Green

I did not “oppose” changes back in 2009, I actually asked the Commission to take steps so over zealous Commonwealth Attorneys (prosecutors) could not arrest, charge and strong-arm a plea deal for teens who consensually Sext under our Child Pornography statutes.

Otherwise, a great and accurate article. 

Thanks Frank! 


Virginia revisits penalties for teen sexting, October 27, 2014
By Frank Green 

Should teenagers who exchange sexually explicit messages and photos face the same punishment as adults charged with producing and distributing child pornography? 

The Virginia State Crime Commission is revisiting the teen sexting issue and may again consider legislation that would lessen penalties — primarily intended for pornographers — in consensual cases involving suspects who are minors. 

Virginia law makes no distinction between adult predators producing and distributing child pornography and minors taking sexually suggestive photos of themselves and sending them to friends over their cellphones. 

If tried as an adult, someone younger than 15 who takes a lewd picture of himself or herself could be committing a felony punishable by a prison term of five to 30 years and a place on the state sex offender registry. Even possession of such photos is a felony and, if the recipient passes it on or simply shows it on his or her phone to another person, it could be considered distribution of child pornography punishable by a term of five to 20 years.