News Roundup

I have 2 criminal law-related news stories worth sharing.


Techdirt: Cops Who Started 'Hackers Are Us' Service Convicted

Apparently a private investigation firm in the UK named "Hackers Are Us" (by the way, fantastic name) got busted. (Gee, wonder if the name could have somehow hurt their case?) The founders of the service were convicted, and, to add even more intrigue, they were both police officers at the time they got busted.

Second, I apologize, I've had this story sitting around for a few months:

Police blotter: Teens prosecuted for racy photos | Tech News on ZDNet

Here, a teenage girl was convicted for taking "risque" photos of herself, because, guess what, she was producing child pornography. Her boyfriend, to whom she was sending the photos, was also charged with possession. And the Florida appeals court upheld the conviction.

Even more confusingly, it would not be a crime for the two of them to have sex. So, you can do the deed, but not take "risque" photos. Oh yes, the law makes a lot of sense.


  1. Hmmm...taking photos of yourself = kiddie porn?

    That's so, well, autoerotic of the prosecutor.

  2. My guess---and you heard it here first---is that in terms of the number of distinct images created, the largest group of "child pornographers" these days are teenagers. After all, who's going to take more pictures of naked teens? A few thousand creepy middle-aged men? Or 20 million high school students with cell phones? I think it's another criminal law disaster waiting to happen.

  3. I read this decision around the time that it came out. I was puzzled then, I remain puzzled now. Specifically, the argument adopted by the appellate court was that the pictures "could" have been exposed to adults so there was no privacy interest in the photographs. It never was exposed to a third party; someone talked about it and someone else notified the police.
    But I know that at the federal level, they would never touch this case unless it involved an adult. I find this conviction funny, especially in light of the Utah Supreme Court vacating a conviction for sex between a 12 year old and a 13 year old (yes, they were both convicted).

    Your tax dollars hard at work...

  4. you sure it'd be legal for them to do it?
    i remember a case in con law with two underage kids and the sup court said it was okay for the state to prosecute the boy for statutory rape.

  5. lawschool - I think it depends on the state. In some states, the statutory rape statute includes some kind of "and he is at least x years older than her" type of clause so that kids of the same age can't statutory rape each other.

    According to the article, "Under a 1995 ruling in a case called B.B. v. State, the Florida Supreme Court said that a 16-year-old could not be found delinquent for having sex with another 16-year-old."

    Their reasoning, I think, is that if they have sex, it would be a very fleeting thing (and I do mean fleeting) whereas the photos could exist forever, and some day she might regret it. Then again, she could regret the sex. And there could be lasting evidence of sex (uh, i.e. a baby?) but that's not how the court saw it.

  6. My favorite part of Wolf's decision:
    " Further, if these pictures are ultimately released, future damage may be done to these minors' careers or personal lives."

    But being convicted of child pornography will apparently have no effect whatsoever on their high school studies, college applications or their future careers....

  7. the photos could exist forever, and some day she might regret it.

    Like, for example, the day she gets convicted for child pornography?

    If the best argument you've got for sending someone to jail is that "it's for their own good," it's a sign you don't really have a good public policy reason for sending them to jail, and you're trying to make yourself feel better about it.

  8. The "child pornography" case: It would be funny if there weren't actual lives ruined by it.

  9. Isn't it true that a girl can't be charged as an accomplice to statutory rape because the statute is supposed to protect her.

    Wouldn't this same argument apply in this case?

  10. Anon asks:
    "Isn't it true that a girl can't be charged as an accomplice to statutory rape because the statute is supposed to protect her.

    Wouldn't this same argument apply in this case?"

    I've certainly never seen the accomplice liability theory in statutory rape. Has anyone else? Just curious.

    Either way, the "accomplice" would probably have to be charged as a juvenile, which might limit their liability.

    Still an interesting theory.

  11. I think I need to see the pics before I can determine whether or not they are truly obscene.

    Or, at least, pornographic.

    Link, please?

  12. What do you expect in Florida?

    I've Got Nothing Here

    Tampa's Mark O'Hara was released from prison this week. He was serving a 25-year sentence for possession of 58 Vicodin tablets. Prosecutors acknowledge he wasn't selling the drug. They acknowledge that he had a prescription for it. At his trial, two doctors testified they'd been treating O'Hara since the early 1990s for pain related to gout and an automobile accident.

    But prosecutors inexplicably brought drug trafficking charges anyway, because as the article explains, 'Under the law, simply possessing the quantity of pills he had constitutes trafficking.'