Wednesday, September 24, 2014

child porn voodoo logic

State and federal courts hand down very different sentences for child pornography crimes. While state courts will hand down a sentence of probation, federal courts will send the defendant to prison for years for the very same crime.
Federal laws are tougher than state laws, but federal authorities say their limited resources allow them to go after only the worst of the worst.
My family and many other families waiting for someone to come home from federal prison would dispute that the feds go after only the worst of the worst. A man in possession of four images or twelve images or eight videos simply cannot be the worst of the worst. The feds go after the easy cases and child porn possession cases are easy.

An interesting research project would be to compare recidivism rates of child porn defendants sentenced by the state with those sentenced in federal court. If there is little difference (a safe bet), that should further the cause for reduced sentences.
...many cases end up in state court where sentences are lighter — which some prosecutors say can be appropriate for offenders who mostly need therapy.
 Makes sense. Why spend $25-30,000 to incarcerate someone for a year when lesser measures can have the same effect?
Others say the lack of mandatory sentences creates a system where the punishment does not fit the crime.
 Nope. Without mandatory sentences, the judge can hand down stringent sentences when necessary but mandatory sentences prevent the judge from giving a lesser sentence when appropriate. Mandatory sentencing laws get in the way of proportionate sentencing.

The article ends with a quote from someone who said,
"Child porn is not a victimless crime — and we need sentencing laws that recognize not only the severity of these crimes, but the suffering the victims endured,"
In the comments, Tiglath Philizar talks about "Child Porn Voodoo logic"--the idea that looking at child porn images can hurt the person represented in the image in the same way that sticking pins in a voodoo doll can cause damage to a real person nowhere nearby.
Think logically for just one minute. If front of me I have a voodoo doll I stick that voodoo doll with a pin and the person I curse is injured. Child Porn Voodoo logic; Someone possesses a photo of a child, in the form of 0′s and 1′s in a computer file. When s/he looks at the medium, the individual depicted in the photo, video or both gets victimized and hurt. While I can appreciate that actual creating CP victimizes children, I cannot agree that looking for, viewing, or collecting CP actually victimizes anyone. If you were to apply the same reasoning to any other crime, then looking at a photo of any crime would be re-victimizing someone.
If the argument is correct that the child in a pornographic image is victimized again when someone looks at the image, we should be able to extend that argument to other victims and other situations and yet no one suggests that possession of a photo of someone cruelly beaten with fists should be illegal because looking at the image will victimize that person again. No one seriously suggests we incarcerate those who downloaded the recently hacked naked photos of celebrities. Making the argument for anything other than child porn exposes the silliness of the argument.

Tiglath Philizar has his own example:
If the simple act of viewing an image of someone is harmful perhaps an appropriate punishment would be to simply take a photo of the perpetrator in jail, then set them free, but have some look at the photo that was taken while they were in jail; same logic.
That would be a change in sentencing policy I could get behind. 

The idea that someone looked at or possessed images of child pornography should concern us far less than the very real actions of someone who abuses a child sexually and records the abuse. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

sex and power, a volatile combination

A Texas cop took advantage of people accused of sex offenses, making them pose naked for photos for his personal collection.
[The police officer] allegedly told suspects that a new law required him to photograph them in the nude.  According to one suspect, officer [the police officer] insisted on having a photo of the mans erect penis, which he said was a new requirement for the state’s sex offender registry. ...
According to the complaint, [the police officer] told the man that a new state law required him to take nude photographs of all accused sex offenders, as evidence, and for records in the state’s sex offender registry. 
The sex offender registry gave this cop the power to do what he did. Laws did not explicitly give him that power to abuse people in custody but fear of the public humiliation imposed by the registry made people suspected of sex crimes vulnerable to his perverted demands.
During the investigation it was discovered that he had a large collection of naked photos from accused sex offenders, and that this activity had likely taken place over a long period of time. It is also highly possible that a number of these suspects were innocent or wrongly accused, because in many circumstances these photos were taken after the initial arrests, before any formal court dates had taken place.
Like people in general, some cops are going to have weird ideas about sex and some of them are going to commit crimes because of those ideas. Knowing that society has been encouraged to revile sex offenders gives bad law enforcement officers the freedom to indulge their own desires to humiliate.

Give a badge and a gun to the wrong person and bad things will happen. 

It will be interesting to see if this cop loses his job over these allegations. Too often, a cop accused of brutality will keep his (or her) job.

Monday, September 8, 2014

"shock waves at city hall"

This story, about a city attorney getting caught for possession of child pornography, has been making the rounds. When I saw it on Facebook, it was heralded with, "Shock waves at city hall..."

Really? Shock waves??

We have been watching first-time offender after first-time offender get hauled off to prison for years because of child porn and now you are shocked? If anything, seeing it happen again and again and again--and rarely a repeat offender--should tell you it can happen to anyone.

How can anyone profess to be shocked when someone who looks at child porn as part of his job...looks at child porn? It has happened so frequently that we simply should not be shocked anymore.