Pornography

Missouri Man Gets 3 Years for Reading 'Incest Comics'

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This week U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple sentenced Christjan Bee of Monett, Missouri, to three years in prison for "possessing an obscene image of the sexual abuse of children." The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri describes the material at issue as "a collection of electronic comics, entitled 'incest comics,'" that "contained multiple images of minors engaging in graphic sexual intercourse with adults and other minors." According to federal prosecutors, "The depictions clearly lack any literary, artistic, political or scientific value." Local police found the drawings on Bee's computer in August 2011 while executing a search warrant they obtained based on a tip from his wife. Bee originally was indicted for receiving child pornography, based on a different set of images, but that charge was dropped as part of a plea deal. This case is another example of how a constitutionally questionable law criminalizing mere possession of obscenity is escaping scrutiny.

Congress enacted the law criminalizing obscene depictions of sex acts involving minors after the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that a federal ban on "virtual" child pornography, production of which does not involve any real children, violated the First Amendment. In contrast with child pornography, which is illegal even if it is not judged obscene, the material covered by the new law has to meet the obscenity test that the Supreme Court established in the 1973 case Miller v. California, which among other things involves a lack of "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." That is why prosecutors made a point of saying there was none of that in the drawings on Bee's computer. But while the Court has upheld bans on possession (as opposed to production or distribution) of child pornography, it has rejected bans on possession of obscenity. In the latter case, decided in 1969, the Court unanimously ruled that the power to regulate obscenity "does not extend to mere possession by the individual in the privacy of his own home." Hence it is hard to see how Bee can be sent to prison for mere possession of those "incest comics."

Bee won't be raising a First Amendment challenge, however, because he gave up that right in exchange for dismissal of the child pornography charge, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. The charge to which he pled guilty, by contrast, carries an indeterminate sentence of up to 10 years, and in the end the plea deal shaved at least two years off his prison term. Last year I described a similar case in which an Ohio man got 15 months rather than five years by pleading guilty to an obscenity charge based on Simpsons porn rather than face a charge of receiving actual child pornography based on other images.

The upshot is that Congress so far has managed to criminalize possession of virtual child porn, even though the Supreme Court has explicitly said it may not do that, by calling it something else. In Canada, by contrast, the definition of child pornography explicitly includes fictional depictions, so leave your manga at home.

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  1. I say this sick fuck is innocent.

  2. The upshot is that Congress so far has managed to criminalize possession of virtual child porn, even though the Supreme Court has explicitly said it may not do that, by calling it something else.

    Thanks for clearing that up. Because I was really wondering how this made any sense:

    Congress enacted the law criminalizing obscene depictions of sex acts involving children after the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that a federal ban on “virtual” child pornography, production of which does not involve any real children, violated the First Amendment.

    Fortunately for Congress, it doesn’t have to. At least for now.

  3. A long time ago…but somehow in the future

    It is a time of civil war,
    and renegade paragraphs
    floating through space.

    There’s cool space battles,
    and the bad guy is the
    good guy’s dad, but you
    don’t find that out ’til the
    next episode.

    And the hot chick is really
    the sister of the good
    guy, but they don’t know it,
    and they kiss. Which is
    kind of messed up. I mean,
    what if they had done it
    instead of just kissed?

    Angelina Jolie kissed her
    brother. Yeah, she did. You
    know it, I know it, and
    her dad knows it. That’s
    why they hardly ever talk
    anymore. You can run away
    to Africa, but you can’t run
    away from the truth.

    Oh, by the way, here’s
    a tip for you: when this
    is over, go out and rent
    the movie “Gia.” She’s way
    naked in it, and makes out
    with another chick and
    everything. It’s awesome.
    I stumbled across it late at
    night on HBO after I
    had just got back from
    hockey and I almost
    fainted. But I digest…

    Princess Leia was coming
    back from buying space
    groceries when this
    happened…

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      God damn Family Guy is hilarious. I mean seriously you guys. Seth MacFarlane must be some kind of comic genius.

      1. God damn Family Guy is hilarious

        Hugh, I think you need counselling.

  4. I think the Feds should confiscate the entire internet on the grounds that it is being used to commit felonies.

    1. you don’t think ol’ Julius Genachowski hasn’t fapped to that very thought?

  5. This week U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple sentenced Christjan Bee of Monett, Missouri, to three years in prison for

    squeezing the Charmin

    1. Now that would be a pervert.

  6. Local police found the drawings on Bee’s computer in August 2011 while executing a search warrant they obtained based on a tip from his wife.

    I guess she got tired of his preferring his hand to her vagina.

  7. Sometimes you shouldn’t let the wookie win.

    1. +2 arms ripped out of their sockets

  8. Better alt-text:

    “I know. Somehow, I’ve always known.”

    1. I’ll just assume your comment would fulfill one of my three daily required felonies. Thanks!

      1. What are the other two? Bestiality and insider trading?

  9. A tip for all cyber-criminals (which is pretty much everyone at this point). This is why:

    1) you use truecrypt
    2) you use Tor
    and (not relevant in this case, but still important)
    3) you don’t take your computer to a repair shop when you have illegal content on the hard drive

  10. When are they going to ban 4chan?

  11. That’s it, Sis, pretend it’s candy!

  12. Are Shooting Ranges the New Bowling Alleys?

    Asked what [Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center] thinks about shooting ranges becoming the new bowling alleys in America, Sugarmann says, “Bowling alleys pose no lethal threat to participants; shooting ranges pose a risk to users.” He cites VPC studies on the relationships between shooting ranges and suicide, other fatal gun incidents and lead contamination.

    Where the fuck does NPR find these purveyors of derp?

    1. Homer: Bowling! Bowling here! Get your bowling! Who’s ready? Bowling!

  13. The First Amendment?? Bill of rights?? So…. yesterday.

    Besides it’s just a creation of dead old white men. So… it must be racist. And… not cool.

  14. Alt text? That’s the ticket, Jake!

  15. I’ll just leave this here.

    What does it say about culture when that’s one of the best selling porno series ever made?

    1. It says something about human nature. Incest and the fascination with it has been around since the dawn of time. Oedipus Rex was a hit how many hundred years before Christ?

      It is not about our culture. It is about human beings in general.

      1. He loved his mother and she loved them
        And yet their story is rather grim

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6rKrO5iLZs

        1. loved *him*

    2. What it says that is that we can’t stop making sequels.

  16. I’ll be damned old Judge Whipple has a porn mustache. But more importantly, how the fuck does a person “sexually abuse” a cartoon character.

  17. Bee won’t be raising a First Amendment challenge, however, because he gave up that right in exchange for dismissal of the child pornography charge

    There ought to be an amendment stopping those kinds of deals. It allows blatantly unconstitutional laws to become immune from judicial review (and then when they finally come up by some chance, the law has become “widely accepted” like the bullshit in Wickard and won’t be struck down then either)

    1. They played him good. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts the other pictures weren’t even porn, or if they were, they were like the “little lupe” case. They knew a first amendment challenge would succeed, so they threw that at him first.

  18. “Gawd darn it Pa get off sis it’s ma turn now!”

  19. So, basically, you can get arrested for drawings and text if they are sufficiently offensive or unsavory to enough people. and you know, I hear people thinking/saying, “well sure, I believe in free speech and free expression, but this sort of thing is beyond the pale.” Which is just another way of saying you don’t believe in those things. Let’s be honest, most people would be inclined to ban things that they find sufficiently offensive. As for myself, nothing makes me sicker than the abuse of the defenseless – children, animals, old people and so on and I think the people who do such things should put on the rack, but I would never feel inclined to prohibit depictions or descriptions of these things. I mean, for God’s sake, you could publish pictures of babies having their head crushed in vices and it still wouldn’t be a crime. But, for some bizarre reason anything involving sex in anyway hold a unique horror versus the mere horror of brutality and cruelty.

    1. There isn’t a market for baby crush videos… if there were, and we’re talking about actual babies having their heads crushed, I’d be OK with a ban on possession for that.

      1. So it would be illegal to own a copy of the bible?

  20. I believe that a woman was recently sentenced to prison for writing incest stories that depicted minors. I wonder when they’ll go after the producers of “Lolita”.

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