How’s this for a new low in the area of American “law enforcement”.
A 17-year-old boy has been charged with possessing and manufacturing child pornography — for taking pictures of himself which he texted to his teenage girlfriend.
But, in addition to how completely ridiculous that sounds, prosecutors in Prince William County have now informed a judge “they need photos of the 17-year-old’s erect penis to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time,” according to Yahoo! News.
This is all reportedly because police want to perform a computer analysis to match the photos they want to take under the warrant to the case evidence consisting of an explicit photo on the teen girl’s cell phone.
Defense lawyer Jessica Foster said she is unaware of any cases where police have pursued similar photographs, particularly of a minor.
“This is crazy,” she said. “Nobody’s even heard of something like this. … The charges are excessive, and the means by which they are seeking evidence are outrageous.” (source)
Carlos Flores Laboy, the teen boy’s appointed guardian ad litem, added, “Doing this to an adult would be traumatic. We’re talking about a 17-year-old child. Doing it to a 17-year-old would be even worse.”
The ad litem and the teen’s aunt have sent the boy out of state so the police cannot execute this completely creepy warrant.
[The aunt] said prosecutors insisted on getting the photographs after her nephew turned down a plea deal that would have required a year of probation in which he would be forbidden from using a cellphone or the Internet. She was concerned that a slipup on probation — even a single use of a social media account like Facebook or Twitter — would leave him exposed to a felony record and a requirement to register as a sex offender. (source)
This requirement would force this teenage boy to officially register as a “sex offender” — for taking a naked picture of himself, by the way — if he sent out even one harmless Tweet about his cat for a year.
While police did not return comment to Yahoo! News, they did post a statement on the agency’s website declaring it isn’t their policy “to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case,” and that police were contacted by the girl’s mother after her daughter was sent “pornographic videos” by the teen boy who was supposedly told to stop.
So far, neither the police nor the news outlet has discussed how police would go about obtaining these photographs, and none of the legal experts who have weighed in on the matter have said whether or not the boy could plead the Fifth on having pictures forcibly taken of his “erect” body parts if they could incriminate him.
Invasive doesn’t begin to cover what this is. Perhaps we all need to go back and have a look at the 5th Amendment…
But just on the surface, let’s try to even remotely comprehend this: so the boy in this case is charged with victimizing himself — “creating child pornography” by taking naked pictures of himself — so the answer involves the police taking similar naked pictures of him — thus creating more child pornography?
The teen and his lawyer have vowed to fight the warrant in court.