Thursday, April 18, 2013
By Tim Omarzu
The age of consent is 16 in Georgia.
But teens can face felony child pornography charges for "sexting," or sending one another nude photos via cellphone.
That would change under legislation sponsored by state Rep. Jay Neal, R-Chickamauga, that would make it a misdemeanor for someone at least 14 years old willingly to send a sexually explicit photo to someone who's 18 or younger.
"We don't want to criminalize stupid teenage behavior," said Neal, who referred to it as a "Romeo and Juliet clause."
"We don't want to make a felony out of it. It would still be a misdemeanor." said Neal, who preaches occasionally at his church in Ringgold, Ga. "We certainly are not encouraging that type of behavior. We still wanted them to understand it is not appropriate."
Under the bill, it still would be a felony for a teen -- for example, after a bitter break-up -- to distribute the explicit photos to harass, intimidate or embarrass another teen, or for commercial purposes.
Neal's House Bill 156 (PDF) passed the state House and Senate without a single vote in opposition. He expects Gov. Nathan Deal will sign it.Catoosa County, Ga., Sheriff Gary Sisk said he doesn't have any "heartburn" over the bill.
"It's more of a moral issue, not a criminal issue," he said. "We're not talking about pedophiles."
"The age of consent is 16," Sisk said. "Two 17-year-olds could have sex, and it's not against the law. But if one of them decided to take [and send an explicit] picture of themselves, they would now be in violation of the law."
A teen convicted of felony sexting would have to register as a sex offender, Sisk said.
"That stays with them for the rest of their lives," he said.
Walker County, Ga., Sheriff Steve Wilson said a felony conviction can limit a person's college and career options.
"It's like a ball and chain around your ankle," he said.
"The question is, should they get a break and not be charged with a felony?" Wilson asked. "I think so. I think they should probably be slapped with a misdemeanor."
"Right now, a D.A. had no other options than either to turn the other cheek or prosecute some serious felonies," Sisk said.
Lawmakers in other states have considered similar legislation. In 2009, Utah was one of the first states to make teen sexting a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Neal's bill also makes it illegal for someone to use online services to contact a child's parents or guardian to arrange to have sex with a child. Current law only makes it illegal for an adult to solicit the child directly or someone the adult believes is the child.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation asked Neal to introduce that.
"It closed that loophole," Neal said.
In the second video they try to tell you that having ex-offenders wearing GPS is why there is a low recidivism rate, but the facts are, ex-offenders have a low recidivism rate in the first place, so GPS is not why. Just the usual media vigilantism, fear mongering and disinformation as usual.
By Dusten Carlson
We can sympathize with a guy who confesses a desire to “f– up a pedophile,” but that’s not the kind of thing you want to brag about online when you’re a juror in a sex offender case.
Kasim Davey was discharged as a juror in a London trial for doing just that.
After being selected to be a juror in a case regarding an alleged sex offender, Davey jumped on Facebook and wrote ”Woooow I wasn’t expecting to be in a jury Deciding a paedophile’s fate, I’ve always wanted to f– up a paedophile & now I’m within the law!”
Davey was discharged and will be prosecuted himself, because the post puts him in breach of contempt of court laws. He denied posting the message when he was questioned by the judge on his case.
He was a juror in the trial of [name withheld], a convicted child-sex offender who was handed a suspended 12-month prison sentence in January, reports The Guardian.
The attorney general called Davey’s Facebook post ”an act likely to interfere with the due administration of justice.” Translation: You can’t impartially deliver justice as a juror when you’re carrying a personal grudge. Again, it’s an understandable grudge, but it does make the law “thing” kind of murky.
But the big lesson here has more to do with using discretion when you post things online. This contempt case is just the latest in a recent string of such prosecutions which involve jurors and other individuals talking about ongoing criminal trials on social media.
A related curiosity involves jurors researching cases online while they are in progress. The idea is to prevent prejudice on the part of the jury, and laws in the U.K. have been drafted to prosecute those who go hunting for such information.
Be careful what you post online, kids!
By Terry Stackhouse
Bangor - Sex offender residency restrictions could soon keep criminals away from children in Bangor.
On Wednesday, the Government Operations Committee discussed a proposed ordinance that would limit people convicted of Class A, B, or C sex offenses, against a person younger than 14, from living within 750-feet of public areas where children are the primary users.
In 2010, a similar ordinance was shot down in a lopsided vote, but some councilors are voicing their support.
Bangor is home to 141 convicted sex offenders.
Some locals think that's too many and called on the council to tighten restrictions, but others are saying it's not that simple.
"If sex offenders are actually pushed out and they don't have access to the resources that they need to keep them on an even keel, when all of us are stressed in some way we often drawback to some of those bad habits," said Angel Shaw of Rape Response Services.
Donna Wright of Ohio Street asked, "I think about these children, and these people are predators for the most part, and yes when they are stressed they will revert to bad habits but can't we start putting more limits?"
The issue goes before a full council on Monday and committee members expect a vote to be taken.
If passed, sex offenders already living in restricted areas would not be forced to leave.
UK - Baby-faced woman (Emma Hall), 21, faces life in jail after leading vigilante gang who murdered teenager falsely accused of rape
By SAM WEBB
A woman is facing a life sentence for leading a vigilante gang who tortured and brutally killed a teenager wrongly accused of rape.
Emma Hall, 21, of Romford, showed no emotion as she was found guilty of murdering [name withheld], 18, at the Old Bailey.
Her friends James Danby, 27, and Tony O’Toole, 30, were also convicted of murder.
Mr [name withheld] was savagely beaten to death in May last year after an 18-year-old girl pointed him out to Hall during a chance meeting and claimed she had been raped by him two years before.
She had made a complaint to police but the matter was dropped when she withdrew the allegation.
Police found no evidence that a rape had taken place.
The teenager and Hall were visiting friends at a house in Romford, Essex, where Mr [name withheld] was also staying.
He was beaten up in a room and dumped on wasteland in Woodford Green, east London.
Simon Denison QC, prosecuting, said: 'She told the others that he was the person she had told Hall about at the time who had raped her.'
'The men, over a prolonged period of time, severely beat him up by punching and kicking him to the head, so he was bleeding heavily from his injuries and his face was terribly swollen.'
Hall then drove Danby and O’Toole and Mr [name withheld] to a lane where he was taken to the bank of a stream and 'finished off'.
Mr Denison said: 'They killed him by punching and kicking him and stamping on his head many, many times.'
'The bones in his face were crushed.'
The killers then bought petrol and set fire to their bloody clothing, before cleaning up bloodstains at the house.
The following evening, Hall drove them and another man to the spot where the body had been covered with a mattress and other rubbish.
Mr Denison said: 'They had with them knives and a pair of bolt cutters that they were intending to use to mutilate his body to make it more difficult for him to be identified by cutting off his fingers and removing his teeth.'
But Hall had secretly tipped off police to divert guilt from herself, and officers were waiting for them when they arrived.
Mr Denison told the jury: 'His murder was quite extraordinarily callous, violent and brutal.'
Hall and Danby were also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and perverting justice.
O’Toole was also found guilty of perverting justice and conspiracy to pervert justice along with Danby.
Billy Duggan, 21, was found guilty of perverting justice and conspiracy to pervert justice.
The defendants, who were all from Romford, were remanded in custody to be sentenced next week.
Jovan Roberts, 28, was cleared of murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and Khalid Hassan, 20, was cleared of conspiracy to pervert justice. They were discharged.
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