Lunch Lady Sexting Case Brings Down Unconstitutional Minnesota Law

The law criminalized any sex-related communication with someone under 16 years old.

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Science Photo Library/Newscom

The Minnesota Court of Appeals just struck down a key part of the state's law concerning sexual communication with minors. The law, passed in 2014, was ostensibly aimed at preventing predators from "solicitation of children to engage in sexual conduct" but, in effect, criminalized conduct that falls far short of solicitation.

For example, the court noted, "a music video producer [who] creates a video with sexually explicit depictions or lyrics" could be found guilty under the law if he or she uploads the video to YouTube and someone under age 16 sees it. So too could the producer of a film depicting sexual content or the writer of young-adult fiction that includes a sex scene. 

Under the overbroad statute, any adult who "solicits a child"—defined as anyone 15-years-old or younger or an undercover officer pretending to be 15 or younger—to engage in sexual activity is guilty of a felony. Furthermore, any communication with a child "relating to or describing sexual conduct," even without trying to solicit them for real-world activity, is also a felony if it is done with "the intent to arouse." Lastly, "distributing any material, language, or communication, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct to a child or someone the person reasonably believes is a child" is a felony. Those found guilty under the statute face up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. 

The law wound up before the appeals court after a father found photos of a nude woman on his 15-year-old son's iPad. The images were sent via Instagram message by Krista Ann Muccio, a woman in her early 40s who was a lunch lady at the boy's high school, and a search revealed that Muccio and the boy had exchanged sexually explicit words and photos online. Muccio was arrested and charged with one count of felony communication with a minor describing sexual conduct and one count of possession of pornographic material involving a minor.

A district court found there was insufficient evidence to establish probable cause for trial on the child-porn count. It dismissed the first count on the grounds that Minnesota's solicitation of minors law was overbroad and unconstitutional. The state appealed. 

On Monday, a three-judge panel for the appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling, finding that the second part of the statute—the part that prohibits merely "engaging in communication" of a sexual nature with someone under age 16—was indeed unconstitutional. "The state does not dispute that [the law] s a content-based restriction on speech," notes their decision. "Content-based regulations are presumptively unconstitutional under the First Amendment," with the state bearing the burden of showing that the restriction is not in violation—something it did not sufficiently do. 

"The state first argues that the speech prohibited …  is not entitled to First Amendment protection because it is speech integral to criminal conduct," note the judges. But while "soliciting sex from a child is speech integral to criminal conduct if made with the intent to induce or commence illegal activity," Minnesota law "sweeps more broadly" and bans "speech which precedes the solicitation of criminal sexual conduct by sexual predators. Therefore, the prohibited speech is one step removed from speech which has, thus far, been recognized as speech which is integral to criminal conduct." 

As for the state's charge that the speech it prohibited was analogous to child pornography, and therefore unprotected under the First Amendment, the court was similarly unconvinced. 

The policy justifications supporting the child pornography category of unprotected speech are inapplicable here because children need not be exploited by or even involved in the process of producing the speech prohibited by [the statute]. Indeed, children need not be depicted, nor is any imagery required. There need only be a "communication…relating to or describing sexual conduct." Accordingly, this unprotected-speech category is inapplicable, and we cannot expand its application.

Ultimately, the speech Minnesota aimed to prohibit "is not limited to speech integral to criminal conduct or obscenity, nor can we deem the proscription permissible by analogizing it to child pornography," the court concluded. "We therefore conclude that the statute proscribes protected speech and implicates the First Amendment." 

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129 responses to “Lunch Lady Sexting Case Brings Down Unconstitutional Minnesota Law

  1. Lunch lady porn. Has that been done yet? No one else do any! I’m calling dibs. Sounds like there might be a market for it.

    1. Oh, man… when that encrusted spoon first break through the surface of the fresh mac and cheese tray…

      1. The corn wasn’t the only thing that was creamed that day…

        1. “It’s Taco Tuesday,” she said coyly, running her hand sensuously through the shredded cheese. “How do you feel about fish?”

          1. Note from the OP: SugarFree not invited to comment.

    2. I got the perfect track for that:
      “Hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders, navy beans, naaaavy beeeeans……sloppy Joe, slo-sloppy sloppy Joe…”

    3. Well, I was fucking a lunch lady for a while. Didn’t make any porn of it.

    1. The responses from the kid.

      Were you not here for the other “self-produced child porn” examples?

      1. In the ruling, it describes the pictures that she sent, and then goes on to say that they “exchanged sexually explicit photographs”, which is very ambiguous.

        1. Probably ambiguous because of the same reasons the district court tossed that charge before trial with little comment beyond insufficient probable cause.

          1. The court found, contra to popular opinion, boys do not regard cold, square pizza as inherently pornographic. I mean, they’ll eat it, but some of them don’t even like it.

  2. Reality really doesn’t need to give SugarFree any more ideas…

    How does a relationships like that get started, anyhow?

    …when she gave me an extra piece of partially frozen pizza-like substance, I knew she was the one …

    1. She locked eyes with him and then stumbled off the line. He picked up her fallen hair net and chased her as she squeaked away on crepe-soled shoes. They met in the deserted transgender bathroom.

      1. See, I pictured her more like a dominatrix, spanking him with a mash potato soaked ladle.

        1. She’s a nurturer. She gives him what his mother never could: a well-balanced meal.

        2. mash potato soaked encrusted ladle

          i know they’re runny school taters, so soaked might be more technically accurate, but i think encrusted is far more sexually disturbing.

      2. I don’t know whether to beg SugarFree to keep going, or to just stop it.

        1. We really need to have a SF safe-word.

          1. BABY BACK RIBS!

    2. The smell of boiled cream corn was thick in the air…

    1. She could be hotter than hell, she’s still a lunchlady. The kid’s family will be forced to carry that shame for generations.

      1. I feel sorry for his mom.

      2. She could be hotter than hell, she’s still a lunchlady.

        Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. The lunch lady I was fucking was an amazing cook. Her talents were wasted on that school.

  3. the second part of the statute?the part that prohibits merely “engaging in communication” of a sexual nature with someone under age 16?was indeed unconstitutional.

    I do not think the statute is vague enough.

    1. You want to ban abstract euphemisms too?

      1. *wink wink* *nudge nudge*

    2. Note that it does not contain a “knowing requirement”. So that means that someone who has cyber sex or so much as talks about sex with someone in a chat room who later turns out to be under 16 is guilty, even if the minor was lying and pretending to be an adult and the person had no way of knowing that.

      This statute isn’t just vague, it makes up for it by applying strict liability.

      1. Stay off Chatroulette, Minnesotans.

        1. Asking for a scanned ID is such a mood killer.

          1. Fear is the mood killer.

          2. I think you typoed “wood”.

  4. OT, but I found this too delightful to wait until the P.M. Links:

    Chicago Sun-Times Writer Denied AR-15 Because of History of Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Battery, Blames the Gun Store Anyway

    “Congress, which has so much trouble passing the most basic gun laws, passed a law making it illegal for the federal government to fund research into gun violence. Except for the week or two after massacres, the public covers its eyes. Would-be terrorists can buy guns. Insane people can buy guns. But reporters … that’s a different story,” he added.

    The owners of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies in Des Plaines, Ill., however, maintained Steinberg’s application was rejected not because he’s in media, but for the simple reason that a background check raised several red flags.

    RRRRRETARD journo tries to buy evil gun to prove how evil they are, gets shut down by background check system, complains that if the background check system really worked that way, lots fewer people would have guns.

    News at 11.

    1. The facts don’t fit the narrative, so he’s trying to change the facts. It’s something the warmists do all the time, so why can’t the anti-gunners? (there is at least some overlap there)

      1. The guy is a life time drunk who admits he can’t quit and has on at least on occasion beaten up his wife while drunk. I am as pro second amendment as anyone, but keeping Neil Steinberg from buying a gun might actually be an example of common sense gun control.

        1. You know why he doesn’t want people to be able to buy guns?

          Because that piece of shit is a bully. And bullies don’t like it when people have the means to fight back.

          1. If his wife had owned a gun, he might be dead.

    2. If Ray Rice should not be allowed to play in the NFL because he beat up his wife, why should Neil Steinberg be allowed to write opinion columns for a major city newspaper? I mean if we are going to take wife beating seriously, why do white journalists get a pass but black athletes don’t?

      1. Does Neil Steinberg need to choke a bitch??

        1. Apparently so. His wife got a little uppity and said she was afraid of him and he showed her how wrong she was by slapping her.

    3. Good grief, I suppose it’s too much to ask that the Sun-Times fire him.

      1. Fire him? Fire him??! It’s the Sun-Times! They probably promoted him for that, sadly.

    4. And his explanation of the wife beating incident is priceless

      Late at night, Steinberg was arrested on a domestic-battery charge for striking his wife?for slapping her because she said she was afraid of him and she started to call 911. He was also charged with interfering with the reporting of a domestic battery?that happened when he ripped his kitchen phone off the wall and hurled it across the room.

      “Everyone focuses on the slap?and that was the only time I ever hit my wife,” Steinberg says. “But the big issue was really the drinking. I had been drinking.” In less than 24 hours before the incident leading to his arrest, Steinberg had consumed a third of a bottle of Cognac in the early-morning hours, knocked back two vodka tonics and a beer before a 10 a.m. editorial meeting, taken a “long and boozy lunch” with a college friend, had several drinks before boarding his evening Metra train, where he consumed two glasses of wine in the bar car, and then slammed back a drink at a local pizzeria when he picked up the family dinner. He topped the evening off with a snifter of Cognac. Drinking, he admits, is the greatest love of his life.

      http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Mag…..ast-Round/

      1. Cognac? Was he wearing a smoking jacket?

        1. I think that is revisionist history on his part. This douche bag strikes me as a cheap brandy guy if there ever was one. I seriously doubt he was sipping Courvoiser. Steinberg is a “lets splurge and get Remy Martin’ guy if I have ever seen one.

          1. Gin, has to be cheap gin.

          2. RIPPO!

        2. I was chuckling at “long and boozy”. You’re so tanked that either you or your old college buddy describes the lunch as “long and boozy”. I kinda wonder if his mom hasn’t called him a “worthless drunk” in print somewhere.

      2. Wow. What a fucking souse. And a sleaze. Better that he doesn’t have a gun, even if he only intended to shoot it at the range and then sell it back to the store (after being talked out of giving it to the police).

        1. If you read that article, the guy is just an asshole. He is estranged from his father and brothers. He tried to make up with his father by taking a trip to Italy on a freighter. At the end of the trip, his father still couldn’t stand him.

      3. And note that he’s in his 40s – I’m in my 40s and that kind of drinking would put me in the hospital. Maybe not when I was in my 20s.

      4. Do the math. This guy is a very serious drunk. A third of a bottle of cognac, two vodka tonics (emphasis on the vodka, I’m sure, and a beer, all before 10 am.

        1. before 10am, sure, but he started at 10pm the night before.

          oh, that’s worse, nevermind, carry on.

      5. and that was the only time I ever hit my wife

        Know how many times I’ve hit my SO over the 17 years we’ve been together? Take a wild guess.

        1. Do accidental head-butts in the vestibule as we both simultaneously reach for the car keys I just dropped count?

    5. Seems he was trying to set up an article about him getting a gun despite his record. He said he ticked ‘no domestic violence’ on the application, but maybe the application only requires admitting convictions and he wasn’t actually convicted?

      Otherwise he may be guilty of some sort of crime in lying on his application.

      1. yep.

        the 4473 says on it answering NO when it’s not true is a felony.

        1. That is a great catch. Its too bad the US Attorney in Chicago won’t ever notice that or do anything about it. He just admitted to a federal felony.

        2. HA!

          He immediately asked for my FOID card ? Firearm Owner’s Identification Card ? no gun purchase without it.

          He showed me a Smith & Wesson M & P 15 Sport II, a lean black weapon, 6.5 pounds.

          IL watchlist for the motherfucking win!

      2. 11i: have you been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence?

        Was he convicted?

        1. I bet he got a deferred adjudication and ended up without a conviction.

    6. Now I’ll state what I believe the real reason is: Gun manufacturers and the stores that sell them make their money in the dark. Congress, which has so much trouble passing the most basic gun laws, passed a law making it illegal for the federal government to fund research into gun violence.

      “Now that I’ve run into real-world facts that complicate my cookie-cutter worldview, let me just make some shit up on the fly to explain the cognitive dissonance i’m suffering”.

    7. It’s part and parcel of them believing that all the “common sense gun laws” they claim we need, aren’t already in place.

    8. I wonder if any politician’s ever asked him “When did you stop beating your wife?” The irony would probably be lost on him.

    9. RRRRRETARD journo tries to buy evil gun to prove how evil they are, gets shut down by background check system, complains that if the background check system really worked that way, lots fewer people would have guns.

      Apparently he’s not up on the latest narrative either. Otherwise, he would’ve just driven to a gun show in Indiana like everyone else in Chicagoland.

      1. Even then I think he’d have trouble completing a private sale, if he kept up the same smug douchey attitude he exhibited in the gun store:

        “Our transaction took nearly an hour because we chatted. Mike used to read newspapers but doesn’t anymore because of opinion writers like me. He knew whether it was legal to bring the gun to Chicago ? it’s not. He was friendly, candid, so I asked difficult questions. Did he ever feel guilty about the people killed by the guns he sells? No, he said, that’s like asking a car dealer if he felt guilty if someone gets drunk and kills somebody in a car he sold. It seemed a fair answer. I asked him if I could quote him in the newspaper, and he said no, I couldn’t, so I’m not quoting him,” he wrote.

        My response would’ve been, “You know what? Fuck you, guy. I’ll sell this to someone who can actually appreciate it and maybe find a useful purpose for it. Go fuck yourself.”

        1. I asked him if I could quote him in the newspaper, and he said no, I couldn’t, so I’m not quoting him,”

          After quoting him. Maybe if you don’t use quote marks, it doesn’t count?

      2. You would have loved his piece last week about Napster,

    10. gun-related:

      Vox posts infographic showing AR-15 with “grenade launcher”

      http://www.ijreview.com/2016/0…..-to-ar-15/

      1. Vox is a living demonstration of how IQ and credentials bear no relationship to anything that can reasonably be called competence.

      2. Oh that is excellent. The final tweet at the bottom with the relabeled graphic is hilarious.

    11. Wife beaters are the lowest form of life on the planet.

    12. The derp and inability to perceive ironic self-parody is delicious:

      “Congress, which has so much trouble passing the most basic gun laws, passed a law making it illegal for the federal government to fund research into gun violence. … Would-be terrorists can buy guns. Insane people can buy guns. But reporters … that’s a different story,” he added.

      translation:

      “Those damn stinking proles shouldn’t be able to get guns, but us noble newspapermen … we shouldn’t have to pass those same background checks.”

      1. “Would-be terrorists”

        Can he point them out? I am betting he can.

  5. What’s the magic number? 15, 16, 17? just 18? barely 18? I don’t much like teenagers so I’ll agree to anything over 24.

    “Well she was just 17. and you know what I mean. the way she looked was way beyond compare.”

    1. Depends on the state.

    2. There’s a young woman on my bus nearly every morning who is a sophomore in college, so about 20. I’m pushing 60 and she looks very good to me. May be some day I’ll work up the nerve to ask her, “Any chance you have a thing for creepy old guys?” She really is cute.

      1. “Any chance you have a thing for creepy old guys?”

        That’s even worse than “what’s your major?”

    3. Since 1885, the age of consent in the UK has been 16, so the Beatles were giving her a year to be safe.

  6. Talk about Hawt Dish!!!!

    Much like all the kids in Lake Woebegone are above average, you all now know that our lunch ladies are super hot! Even if they do tend to put the tot into tater tots.

    Maybe SugarFree could move here and take over Garrison Keillor’s show. I know I would dial in for his version of what goes on.

  7. Everything is always a felony these days. A magic word that can be used to strip anybody of their rights.

  8. Brings a whole new interpretation to Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady Land song lyrics.

    Hoagies and grinders, hoagie and grinders
    Navy beans, navy beans, navy beans
    Hoagie and grinders, hoagies and grinders, navy beans, MEATLOAF SANDWICH!

  9. the second part of the statute?the part that prohibits merely “engaging in communication” of a sexual nature with someone under age 16

    So my “hygiene” teacher (that’s what they called sex ed in the stone ages) would have been a criminal? Ditto my biology teacher?

    Cool!

    1. Yes. And you would be amazed at how many of these sorts of statutes are written so strictly and sloppily that they make obviously lawful activity a crime. For example, there is no law enforcement exception in the federal child porn law. So technically, the police are committing a crime when they seize it from someone and the DA and jury are committing federal crimes when they look at the stuff in court.

      Our lawmakers really are that stupid.

      1. The next person who says Jehovah…..

        1. Silly goy, it’s YAHWEH! You people never get that right.

          1. And that is usually why those suits fail. God just moves to have them dismissed for failure to name a proper party.

            1. God, being omniscient, knows to lose the name.

              1. That’s true. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t have a birth certificate. Who would have issued it? And who are his parents?

                1. Nobody really knows; they lived before recorded history, and they were killed when one of God’s childhood experiments exploded. Word on the street is that it was no accident.

      2. This is also a problem with operating vpn’s and darknet servers. These servers can facilitate both kiddie porn and terrorism. Terrorism is not a problem for the operator. All the big carriers let that through anyway. He can report terrorist activities to authorities without getting his hand clawed by the judicial meat grinder. But hold some cached, encrypted kiddie porn on your equipment … good bye and good luck.

        1. You are correct. That is why I have never messed with the darknet even out of curiosity. The laws are so fucking brutal and the feds such unbelievable assholes, it is not worth the risk.

          1. An older friend of the family had a problem with that. Some kind of kiddie porn had passed through his computer somehow. Can’t remember if it was some kind of sting thing or what. He had no knowledge of it and wasn’t convicted of anything in the end, but it basically killed him. Just for being an unsophisticated old guy messing around on the internet.
            Child porn is a terrible thing. But how many innocent lives have been ruined because of the over-broad laws and investigation methods?

            1. They ruin all kinds of people’s lives and it is still all over the place. As far as I can tell, their efforts have done nothing to stop it.

              They need to hang the people who make it or who molest kids. I am even okay with going after people who sell it or pay to buy it. But criminalizing mere possession of it is not worth doing.

    2. That’s what I wonder. Would sex education have been illegal? Biology?

      I vaguely remember hearing of some law, decades ago, which tried to define obscene by listing all the words you could not say, which made the law itself obscene, by its own definition. It was deligtful!

      1. Fuck shit piss cunt cocksucker motherfucker tits.

        1. AND….sometimes “y”….

        2. I think it starts “Shit piss fuck”.

          1. You are right now that I think of it. Shit piss fuck cunt.

            Carlin had a bit where he explained why he liked the specific order so much.

            1. I remember taping (as in cassette) an HBO show he did in like 1982. I was about 12 years old so you can guess how much fun that was.

  10. OT Don’t let your violent dumb redneck sons take the company truck to a concert. If I were these morons’ father, I club them both to death and bury their bodies where they couldn’t be found. They beat a guy up and drove off in the “Lucas Landscaping” company pickup. And the guy they beat up turned out to be a semi famous NASCAR driver.

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/loc…../352125230

    1. A witness to the fight told Channel 9 there are no victims, and that the Wallace family started the fight.

      Bullshit. $20 says the witness is a buddy of three morons who got arrested.

      1. In my experience, 50 year old superstar athletes just are itching to start fights with bands of fit young me. That’s why I don’t allow my kids within 3,000 yards of a PGA event.

        1. And 50 something upper middle class guys out with their teenage daughters are known to start fights. Happens all the time. I bunch of drunken late 20 something rednecks at a concert, however, are known to be as peaceful as church mice.

          1. Everyone terrorizes fit young men. Everyone.

            1. How did I know it was going to be Hell’s Grannies!

            2. I know. If I can’t get the wool, I get violent.

        2. with bands of fit young me.

          There’s more of you??

          1. And Bailey said nothing bad would happen if we allowed unregulated cloning…

            1. We just need common sense tarran control.

      2. Wallace asked “how did you like the show” and they must have thought he said “hey, you dumb cocksuckers”.

      3. The old guy and his daughter started it: the good ole boys are actually going with this.

    2. “We were told on site that CMPD at the PNC Theater, that they’ve dealt with this group on two or three separate occasions so far this concert season,” Wallace said. “The people this happened with are actual contractors with PNC. They’re maintenance crews. Their company provides maintenance and yard landscaping services from what we’re told.”

      they’re being charged with misdemeanor simple assault. they kicked him in the head when he was down and out. he lost three teeth, was concussed. that is not misdemeanor simple assault.

      1. No its not. And it is too bad he wasn’t carrying a gun and didn’t do the world a favor and shot all of them. What pieces of garbage.

      2. And people act all surprised when I tell them that I usually carry when going to concerts…

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  12. So you committed a crime when you told that 11 year old at the grocery store to go fuck himself.

  13. So you committed a crime when you told that 11 year old at the grocery store to go fuck himself.

  14. distributing any material, language, or communication, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct to a child or someone the person reasonably believes is a child

    The best part of that one is that under a strict reading every sex education class makes the teacher a felon.

    (And all of the students, too, if they, say, did a presentation to the class.)

    1. I teach World History. I’d be breaking the law when talking about Shakespeare, showing Renaissance art, or any number of subjects that involve sexuality. I can no longer put up a pic of the Sistine Chapel, point, and say “Yes. That is penis.”

  15. Trumping up this class of accusations is a handy Republican trick for getting foreigners deported. Back during earlier prohibition, anyone whose lips feloniously touched beer was promptly tried and convicted under Sharia-type law in dry courts, then branded with “moral turpitude” and deported. I predict the Tea and Prohibition Party and their affiliates such as the GO-Pee will fight to keep these tools on the books.

    Immigrants have good reasons for voting libertarian.

  16. “engaging in communication” of a sexual nature with someone under age 16

    Wait, does this mean my sex ed teacher broke the law??

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