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House Overwhelmingly Supports Bill Subjecting Teen Sexters to 15 Years in Federal Prison

The bill was requested by the Department of Justice after federal prosecutors bungled a child exploitation case.

@RepMikeJohnson/Twitter@RepMikeJohnson/TwitterTeens who text each other explicit images could be subject to 15 years in federal prison under a new bill that just passed the House of Representatives. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, has called the measure "deadly and counterproductive."

"While the bill is well intended, it is overbroad in scope and will punish the very people it indicates it is designed to protect: our children," Lee said during a House floor debate over the bill. The bill would also raise "new constitutional concerns" and "exacerbate overwhelming concerns with the unfair and unjust mandatory minimum sentencing that contributes to the overcriminalization of juveniles and mass incarceration generally."

Introduced by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) in March, the "Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017" passed the House by an overwhelming majority last week. Only two Republicans—Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky—voted against the bill, along with 53 Democrats.

"The bill prohibits some conduct that the Constitution does not allow Congress to regulate, and Rep. Amash opposes the expansion of mandatory minimums and crimes that are already prosecuted at the state level," a spokesperson from Amash's office explained of his opposition.

Most of the opposition centered on the bill's effective expansion of mandatory-minimum prison sentences. One vocal critic was Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia), who called the legislation "particularly appalling" because it would "apply to people who I think we should all agree should not be subject" to long mandatory minimums. "Under this law, teenagers who engage in consensual conduct and send photos of a sexual nature to their friends or even to each other may be prosecuted and the judge must sentence them to at least 15 years in prison," said Scott on the House floor.

What's more, "the law explicitly states that the mandatory minimums will apply equally to an attempt or a conspiracy," Scott noted:

That means if a teenager attempts to obtain a photo of sexually explicit conduct by requesting it from his teenage girlfriend, the judge must sentence that teenager to prison for at least 15 years for making such an attempt. If a teenager goads a friend to ask a teenager to take a sexually explicit image of herself, just by asking, he could be guilty of conspiracy or attempt, and the judge must sentence that teenager to at least 15 years in prison.

But Johnson, a freshman congressman (and vocal Trump supporter), dismissed opponents' concern that the measure would be used in ways he didn't intend it to be used. "In Scripture, Romans 13 refers to the governing authorities as 'God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer,'" he said in response to their floor concerns. "I, for one, believe we have a moral obligation, as any just government should, to defend the defenseless."

Johnson has repeatedly claimed that his bill will close "loopholes" that allow child pornographers to go free. But in the only "loophole" case he has pinpointed, it's overreaching federal prosecutors who bungled bringing a bad guy to justice, not some fundamental flaw in our criminal code. In that case, 19-year-old Anthony Palomino-Coronado was accused of molesting his 7-year-old neighbor repeatedly over the course of several months. In investigating the case, police discovered one photo of the abuse that had been taken and subsequently deleted from Palomino-Coronado's phone.

Combined with the victim's testimony, the photo should have guaranteed state police little trouble in trying to prosecute Palomino-Coronado for sexual abuse of a child. But federal prosecutors preempted such a prosecution by deciding to instead try Palomino-Coronado in federal court for producing child pornography.

It was a bad call—the case "could have been brought in state court and the defendant would have been subjected to extremely long, lengthy prison time," Rep. Scott noted during floor debate. But federal law against producing child pornography requires a minor to have been recruited "for the purpose of" producing photo or video. In this case, the court concluded, the longterm pattern of abuse, combined with the fact that only one explicit image was ever taken (and subsequently deleted), meant the perpetrator's purpose was not producing child porn but, rather, his own sexual gratification. If the feds had simply let the state handle the case as one of sexual abuse, Palomino-Coronado would probably be behind bars right now; instead, they overreached with the child porn charge, and now he's free.

Rather than learn from that mistake, the Department of Justice (DOJ) pushed for federal lawmakers to amend U.S. criminal code to make their prosecutorial overreach more permissible. According to Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), the changes in Johnson's bill were "requested by the unit at the Department of Justice that enforces the laws against child pornography."

Legislators aren't supposed to be mere puppets for law enforcement agencies. Yet here we are: A bill specifically requested by DOJ was rushed through the House of Representatives with near-universal support from Republicans and also a lot of support from Democrats. Opposition to the bill from a committed group of criminal justice reformers was ignored. And amendments aimed at fixing the most problematic parts of the bill—its reliance on mandatory minimum sentencing schemes and its failure to exclude minors trading photos with other minors from child-porn prosecutions—were both voted down.

"While we all agree that no child pornography offense should go unpunished, we cannot overlook the consequences of mandatory minimum sentencing," said Conyers on the House floor. Under current U.S. law, first-time offenses for child porn are punishable by mandatory imprisonment of at least 15 years, with repeat offenders subject to 25- and 35-year minimums. "By modifying and expanding [federal law] to include several new ways in which to violate the prohibition against the production of child pornography, the bill would subject new classes of defendants to mandatory minimum sentences," he explained.

Supporters of the legislation said there's no reason to think that federal prosecutors will use the bill against teen sexters, since they have not done so in the past. But state prosecutors have. And we're also up against a new federal administration—one that has explicitly endorsed mandatory minimums and other tough-on-crime endeavors. So, no, the FBI probably isn't about to start rounding up teen sexters in mass. But what will happen the next time ICE finds a racy image on a 17-year-old Mexican immigrant's phone?

We simply "cannot rely on prospective discretion to protect juveniles under this statute," said Conyers, "given the new policy of the Attorney General. We are under a new regime here at the federal level, and I can't depend on relying on the prosecutorial discretion to protect juveniles under this statute."

Opposing lawmakers also rejected the argument that while mandatory minimum sentences might generally be bad, they were OK in this instance because of our (rightful) revulsion at people who exploit children.

"We have to recognize that mandatory minimums in the code did not get there all at once. They got there one at a time, each part of a larger bill, which, on balance, might seem like a good idea," said Scott. "The only way to stop passing new mandatory minimums is to stop passing bills that contain or broaden the application of mandatory minimums. Giving lip service to the suggestion that you would have preferred that the mandatory minimum had not been in the bill and then voting for the bill anyway not only creates that new mandatory minimum, but it also guarantees that mandatory minimums will be included in the next crime bill."

A statement of opposition filed by Reps. Conyers, Lee, and several others stated that while "no child pornography offense should go unpunished," Johnson's bill "would subject more individuals to mandatory minimum penalties at a time when the federal criminal justice system should be moving away from such sentencing schemes."

* This post has been updated to add a statement from Rep. Justin Amash.

Photo Credit: @RepMikeJohnson/Twitter

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  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Fucking ridiculous.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    Mike Johnson - asshole of the year? This one is gonna be hard to top.

  • rudehost||

    That fuckwit makes SJW's look reasonable something I thought was simply not possible. Is it to much to ask that the shit hole that is Louisiana secede with California? In fact please take Alabama with you. Then they can burn 13 year olds at the stake for Jesus in the new nation of Inbredistan.

  • earthmother||

    Oh, please - not everyone in Louisiana is a raving faux christian lunatic like Mike Johnson and the other loon, Clay Higgins. Although, come to think of it, all but one of our congressional delegation are outrageous, raving faux christian lunatics. The only one who brings sanity to the mix is African-American Democrat Cedric Richmond. For what it's worth, in the last three presidential elections, the Democratic candidate got 40-42 percent of the vote, amazing in a ruby red bastion of conservatism. So you see, we're not all terrible people. BTW, the moniker for the new nation is very clever. Just not sure Louisiana belongs there. Especially since the average LA person doesn't have much in common with the average Californian.

  • Bedonkedonk||

    Any time someone is making Sheila Jackson Lee sound sane by comparison, that's a true testament to how much their legislation fucking sucks.

  • Mockamodo||

    Wasn't Sheila Jackson Lee the idiot who, when speaking to a crowd in Africa, referred to black Africans as African-American Africans? You really have to say something stupid to make her sound sane.

  • SomeGuy||

    link or video? I have to see that. I'll add that to my hank johnson funnies.

  • croaker||

    She was the one who visited JPL and asked if the Mars Rover could visit Tranquillity Base.

    When the resident whack-a-doodle says it's a bad idea, you should really consider that you've jumped the shark.

  • BambiB||

    My thoughts exactly. Who'd've thought the Republitards could do something so insane that it would make the Demoncraps look smart by comparison?

  • LarryA||

    ^This. SJL is from my state and this is the first time I've EVER agreed with her.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Holy fucking fuck -- will one industrial strength wood chipper be able to grind the flesh, blood, bone, and sinew of 99% of the House of Representatives or should I buy two?

  • Vladilyich||

    I'd get two, and a good file to keep them sharp!

  • Rhywun||

    I can't take any more nut-punches.

  • Chipper Morning, Now #1||

    I just wrap mine in the bubble wrap of mindless entertainment.

  • Fascist loofa-faced shitgibbon||

    "I can't take any more nut-punches"

    Just be happy you don't have nuts.

  • Rhywun||

    Well, I guess not after the previous post.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    A whole new level of stupid.

    And they govern us.

  • Juice||

    Fucking Republicans. Goddammit. You talk all about rolling back government, but when you get into power you do nothing but shit like this.

  • Rhywun||

    They already ruin horny teens' lives by putting them on "sex offender" lists. What's the big deal if they spend the first 15 years of the rest of their ruined lives in priz?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    This is exactly the kind of shit to fear when the GOP controls the government. That Massie and Amash were the only Republican reps to vote No says a whole lot.

  • Rhywun||

    It means they've done the political calculus and know it won't cost them their jobs, because they know that every voter thinks that only other people's kids are slutty whores.

  • Rhywun||

    ("They" being every other GOP critter)

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    And would it have cost them their jobs if they voted against?

  • Rhywun||

    Probably not but I bet it would have cost them votes.

  • DFG||

    If they voted against it, some future opponent would produce a campaign ad screaming "He voted in favor of child Pornographers!!" and that's why they vote for shit like this.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That's why I did not want that stuff in the 1990 LP platform. I saw it as an act of sabotage, like putting a gallon of nitroglycerin in your car undercarriage. I want the Greens or Commies to put that stuff in THEIR platforms to yield zero votes and lots of incoming fire.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Exactly. That's how awful bills like this get passed. It's political padding.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I can't wait for the shock and panic from some Republican suburban soccer mom when her precious snowflake is facing a 15 year prison sentence because of this shit law that her congresscritter voted for.

    I also wonder what we would find on the phones of any teenage children of the fuckheads who voted for this? I'm guessing a lot of so-called "child pron." Of course, they won't end up in prison for 15 years. Laws only apply to us peasants.

  • Hank Phillips||

    When I wasn't old enough to vote, sending us to be gutshot over the Vietnamese opium crop was enough to motivate some kids. One big problem was that nobody could believe that the Birchers would give you ten years in the pen for marijuana seeds or roots. Not many teenagers read laws.

  • Tony||

    In the defense of their small-government supporters, this is only the 40th example in a row of this behavior, or so.

  • Calidissident||

    Tony, you're not wrong, but you really can't gloat too much here. The Dems don't claim to be the "small government" party, but they often claim to be opposed to sexual puritanims, and to support civil liberties and criminal justice reform. And yet nearly 3/4ths of them voted for this bill. Yes, they were overall better than the GOP here, but as I said, it's a tallest midget award in this instance given the overwhelming bipartisan support.

  • MarkLastname||

    Remind us again which side the majority of Dems voted?

    Oh, that's right. Fuck criminal justice reform, you've got a nonexistent 'rape culture' to fight. Something about minding the plank in your own eye comes to mind.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The only real difference was the ban electricity for Gaia plank. In the 1980s they made it impossible to build more reactors to provide power for all the offspring the Pope ordered women to produce. Now they want to ban coal, which--as published in Reason in the 70s and 80s--is way more dangerous to health than nuclear. Also the GO-Pee use identical pseudoscience to whip lynch mobs into a frenzy against weed, acid and X. But replacing pot with thalidomide was cool because they ordered it.

  • Merl3noir||

    That's one BIG super sized or so you've got there

  • croaker||

    Read the Back The Blue Act of 2017.

    They want a police state.

  • Longtobefree||

    Biology is a science.
    Now who are the science deniers?

    News flash; teenagers have sex drives, teenagers have technology, 97% of all scientists agree teens want to get laid.
    Just not in a federal prison.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Thiz not the sort of thing that should not even be in the federal government's jurisdiction except under specific circumstances.

    But we have law enforcement's view that their tactics are their own justification and whatever thwarts them is a "loophole".

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Its things like this that make the Articles of Confederation look good.

  • Hank Phillips||

    That, the Communist Manifesto Plank2 income tax, and the Tariffs of Abominations passed to irritate Jackson and prez-elect Abe, the Volstead Act, The Harrison Tax Act, the Mann Act, the Fugitive Slave law and Dred Scott decision... and on and on

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    We can't let those dirty Muslims bring their Sharia Law into this country!!!

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Clearly, this man belongs in government.

  • MarkLastname||

    "Belongs" in the sense that the mentally retarded seem quite at home there.

  • Merl3noir||

    Must remember this quote next time they want to take us to War against some dictator. They are just agents of god defending the defenseless, per Romans 13.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Romans 13?! Was that in the Blues Brothers movie or some Polanski kiddie diddling thing?

  • Tionico||

    true enough, the scripture quote, but there is another document that must be applied here... our Constitution. NOWHERE in there is the authority granted FedGov nor denied the States to deal with this sort of thing.

    In other words, the FACT that the DC nutcases are even considering this bill meand THEY are derelict in their duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. This sort of thing is a STATE issue, and the Congress have no business stiking their dirty fingers into the pie.

  • Rogers1234||

    And the judges need to disregard this law because Congress has no right to pass it.

  • Calidissident||

    I'm glad to see Massie and Amash voted against this, but it really goes to show that they really are lone voices in the wilderness among House Republicans. And while the Democrats overall were better here, it seems almost 3/4s of them voted for this bill, so that's a bit of a "tallest midget" statement that doesn't mean much.

  • colorblindkid||

    And I'm sure much of the opposition was because of the new-found urge to be part of the Resistance, and nothing to do with principles.

  • Fascist loofa-faced shitgibbon||

    Confucius say:

    He who run full speed backward toward the Middle Ages, must beware he does not trip and fall into a woodchipper.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    That means if a teenager attempts to obtain a photo of sexually explicit conduct by requesting it from his teenage girlfriend, the judge must sentence that teenager to prison for at least 15 years for making such an attempt. If a teenager goads a friend to ask a teenager to take a sexually explicit image of herself, just by asking, he could be guilty of conspiracy or attempt, and the judge must sentence that teenager to at least 15 years in prison.

    MAGA?

  • Rhywun||

    More like Make America Square Again

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    "I, for one, believe we have a moral obligation, as any just government should, to defend the defenseless."

    LOL snowflakes.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    "I, for one, believe we have a moral obligation, as any just government should, to defend the defenseless."

    Yeah but who is going to defend the kids from the state?

  • Hank Phillips||

    The whole point of the Second Amendment is we NOT be defenseless. States are empowered to repeal invasions with nuclear ABMs if the Constitution says anything at all.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sending message to Trump today to veto this bill.

    My main point will be that teens are not allowed to vote until 18, drink until 21, enlist in the military until 18 but...
    Get 15+ years for having a picture of themselves or another peer.

    The other thing Trump might be good for is checking the religious Republican congressmen and their ridiculous Legislation.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Good luck with that.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The letter that I sent to the white House:
    Dear President Donald Trump,
    My name is ****** **** and I writing to urge you to veto the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017. This bill sets a horrible precedent to expand federal powers and institute cruel and unusual punishments for teens texting pictures of themselves. This matter should be handled by states who are best situated to handle their residents.
    I would remind you that kids will be kids. Technology has given young people the ability to do things that nearly all Congressmen could not do when they were young- easily take pictures and videos. This law would send kids to prison for 15+ years for pictures and videos of themselves or their peers. Meanwhile kids are not allowed to vote until 18, serve in the military until 18, drink alcohol until 21, or enter into contracts until 18.
    I have supported various actions you have taken since becoming President including nominating Gorsuch. I do not support military interventions without a Declaration of War or Letter of Marque or Reprisal. I would also not support this bill becoming law.
    Most Respectfully,
    **** *********

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I respect your attempt Loveconstitution, my god... We should all write letters. This is fucking abhorrent.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    At least with a letter someone usually responds. They cannot say no American ever complained.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Ah! The voice of George Waffen Bush's Executive order 13099. This, incidentally, is the same lynch mob steamroller someone tried to put the LP in the path of back in the nineties. But if minors are not contractually competent, they shouldn't be criminalized over consensual interchanges for the same reason. I voted libertarian, so everyone feeling guiltily aghast ought to remember this at election time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The federal register shows EO 13099 was drafted by Bill Clinton to revise EO 12947.
    EO 13099

  • Longtobefree||

    Never confuse a Bush hater with facts. You just add to the tax burden for the therapy.

  • Crusty Juggler aka "Chad"||

    The other thing Trump might be good for is checking the religious Republican congressmen and their ridiculous Legislation.

    What makes you think that?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump is not a religious nut.

    Of course, religious nuts were part of the voting block that elected Trump though.

    I just hope he does not just do what they want.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    A lot of people seem to confuse "Trump's not religious" with "Trump is opposed to religiously-motivated legislation." I think it's more accurate to say that Trump is indifferent to religion, which cuts both ways. And there are non-religious motivations to think this bill is warranted.

  • Hank Phillips||

    True. When Robert Dear killed the cop while trying to gun down the Planned Parenthood building, mystical bigots came up with at least a million reasons why HIS motivations couldn't possibly have been religious.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Yes. The threat of their spoiler votes going to the George-Wallace, Ku-Klux, Tea or Consta2shun is what wrote the Republican platform, just as the threat of Green Econazi votes has written most of the Dem planks since the Y2k election. Someday 9% of the voters will finally understand the leverage of spoiler votes and we'll have that Libertarian Moment.

  • Calidissident||

    I wouldn't expect Trump to oppose this if it makes it to his desk. Regardless, even if he did, his veto wouldn't block it unless the Senate is much more opposed to this than the House. Vetoes get overriden with 2/3rds support of both chambers, a hurdle the House cleared easily (unless a bunch of people decide to change their minds on the next vote)..

  • brokencycle||

    Think of the children.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Did Rand Paul vote for this insanity?

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Paul's in the Senate, so we'll have to wait and see. I imagine he will vote against it, but he's only a politician.

  • Wizard4169||

    This was a vote in the House. Rand Paul is a senator. So, no. Let's just hope he votes no if this abomination comes to a vote in the Senate.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Randal is an anti-choice mystical bigot first and foremost. If that Republican were even 7% libertarian, is there any doubt which way he would vote? Are any bookies covering this outcome? Place your bets.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, has called the measure "deadly and counterproductive."

    Must be one of the 2 times a day when the broken clock is right.

    But Johnson, a freshman congressman (and vocal Trump supporter), dismissed opponents' concern that the measure would be used in ways he didn't intend it to be used. "In Scripture, Romans 13 refers to the governing authorities as 'God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer,'"

    "Nothing worse than a monster who thinks he's right with God."

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Not totally right. She says the bill is well intended.

    The sponsor cited divine wrath as his intention.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I think I'm going to be sick.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Jones 5 and 10 law was supposed to not send dry agents to kill too many ordinary Americans. And there was no mention of destroying the entire economy and banking system when the Chicago Tribune compared it to the "Fugitive Slave Act" in March of 1929. Besides, it was the noble experiment. Noble is altruistic, and altruism literally reeks of good intentions, right?

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: House Overwhelmingly Supports Bill Subjecting Teen Sexters to 15-Years in Federal Prison

    1. Sex and sexting is only for our obvious betters ruling over us. They must breed prodigiously if they are to have the Glorious Peoples Revolution to continue down through the decades and centuries. Only their blood line is good enough to enslave us all. Sex among all us little people is only acceptable with written permission from The State as to not to produce inferior slaves.
    2. What's wrong with putting 15 year old people in prison? They might as well get used to prison because that's where our country is slowly but surely becoming.

  • Wizard4169||

    But what will happen the next time ICE finds a racy image on a 17-year-old Mexican immigrant's phone?


    Seriously? To the lock-em-up crowd that support this insanity, that's a feature, not a bug.

  • BearOdinson||

    For Odin's Eye!!

    I can't fucking believe that I agree with both John Conyers and Sheila Jackson Lee on something. I am stuck inside,
    would someone check the weather and see if it is snowing? Because Ragnarok must be just around the corner.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    It came and we lost. You are standing in the purgatory between worlds or maybe Hades itself -- I know wrong mythos but all that ended with reality.

  • BearOdinson||

    And, quoting "scripture" is certainly not help to convince me (though I suppose the bible thumping crowd falls all over themselves with the vapors over this shit).

    And while I believe in hospitality, there really is nothing in MY religion that specifically calls out for people to defend the "defenseless". And how about the "defenseless" 16 year old whose girlfriend is 15 and he gets tried in Federal court for having a nude pic of her on his phone? Is he defenseless?

    And I for sure see nothing even close to showing that the members of the Congress (or POTUS, or SCOTUS etc.) are "God's agents" or a god's agents or anything. Tyr is my god of justice, and he gave his hand to bind the Fenris wolf. How many of these fucking politicians would volunteer for that?

    Fuck Romans whatever. How about mind your own fucking business.

  • BearOdinson||

    And one other thing. These clowns think that "Hell" is for those of us who haven't 'accepted Jesus Christ' (WTF that means).

    Wait until they see what amusements Hela has in store for these oath-breakers in Helheim!

  • Robert||

    I thought she just kept & minded the residents, didn't "amuse" them. But I guess she could in her spare time, of which she probably has plenty.

  • Adam W.||

    Okay, this may be a dumb question, but even if the feds screwed up, why couldn't the state try him? Double jeopardy?

  • Jgalt1975||

    That's what I was wondering. Double jeopardy usually doesn't prevent being tried in a different sovereign's court for crimes under that sovereign's laws and the statutes of limitations for sex crimes against minors in most jurisdictions these days are quite long (if not unlimited), so it seems unlikely that the clock ran out on any potential state charges before the federal case was finished.

  • Merl3noir||

    Probably yes, Double jeopardy is supposed to protect us from being charged again for the same crime. The exception would be new evidence. However these days it seems just bringing a different charge in a different court for the same crime by passes the Double jeopardy aspect. Still that is generally reserved when there is enough political, and media attention on the case.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I was full on fucking when I was 16 and I didn't go to fucking prison! This is insanity, vain cruelty, destruction for personal gain, HONOR-LESS POLITICS!

    Kids can FUCK but when NOT IF but when they take pictures of themselves (CHRIST kids use their phones a lot), they stand to have their lives ruined.

    MORALITY is fucking dead, EVIL skinned it alive and walks around in its corpse.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    So a 15 yo boy and 15 yo girl both send photos. What's the odds only the boy will be prosecuted?

  • croaker||

    Approaching unity.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    And just why is this a Federal concern?

  • rudehost||

    Because Wickard like herpes is the gift that keeps on giving.

  • gordo53||

    The filthy pigs in Congress just can't help themselves. What an absurdity and an embarrassment.

  • MichaelL||

    Might as well adopt Sharia!? I can't understand where politicians would think this would be wise! Being a religious right Libertarian leaning Republican, I also see the stupidity. Some people would make this law to protect their kids?! They are exposing their children to a much worse outcome than seeing each other naked! Parents who don't think their angels are going to not have sex, even Christians, are the ones who become grandparents at an early age!


    The same attitude means the girls are not on birth control at the very time they need it most! There is not guarantee those girls are going to be able to want to avoid sex. Yes, parents even some teen girls want to explore their sexuality. (and like the experience!) I would say that, almost, all boys want to explore their sexuality! They don't have the burden that an unwanted pregnancy causes for the female!

  • Hank Phillips||

    This is the Congress 80% of Americans would like to see shipped off to Syria.

  • Principal Spittle||

    "But what will happen the next time ICE finds a racy image on a 17-year-old Mexican immigrant's phone?"

    WTF is this? Do you mean racy images of children? Do you mean an illegal 17yo immigrant? Why would you conflate these issues with one blurry sentence unnecessarily?

    As to what will happen? The "immigrant" might get to stay. For fifteen years.

  • Brian Saady||

    This isn't an exact comparison, but it's the same scenario in which state prosecutors are inexplicably targeting teens with these types of laws.
    http://newsok.com/article/5549778?slideout=1

  • CZmacure||

    In the defense of their small-government supporters, this is only the 40th example in a row of this behavior, or so.
    My recent post: Vidify Review
    My recent post: Copy Paste Paydays Review

  • Dan S.||

    Why does the Federal prosecution of Palomino-Coronado for child porn pre-empt state prosecution for sexual abuse? If he was not guilty of doing certain things for the purpose of making porn, he could still be guilty of doing them for a different reason. Also, since people have been prosecuted on afederal charges for the same acts they were aquitted of in state court, why can't it work the other way around?

  • Eric||

    Thank you Reason for helping to remind me why I hate Republicans as much as Democrats. I was starting to forget.

  • MSimon||

    We are a nation of laws.

    Too many of them.

  • swampwiz||

    So this is how it ends. The heavy hand of the law scares young people away from intermixing and having sex, and the population dies out.

  • Art Gecko||

    This is what happens when you vote for Democrats or Republicans.

  • He Said She Said||

    Congratulations on making a law that will be equally applied to females and males. If anyone has not noticed yet most the time the laws are only enforced when its a man. I guess a mandatory sentence will be a breath of fresh air when they have to apply it to a women. I'm sure the law will change shortly after when the feminist lobby and riot, but this is the only way the laws that are ridiculous will be corrected, it has to apply equally to men and women. It is ether damaging or not to have a picture or video of a teenager engaged in sexual conduct it matters not how old the person is holding the camera or receiving the picture the damage is the same. We need to decide how damaging this is and quite trying to make laws to punish males exclusively. Every man in the sex offending system is a man that cant vote, cannot own a fire arm, cannot excursive free speech in all forums, and cannot live anywhere anyone else can. They are grabbing up constitutional rights with these hysteria based laws. I believe this is the true purpose behind all of this it is not to protect children or abortions would be outlawed in this country. Anyone with the mental capability to decide life or death has the mental capability to give sexual consent. It is obvious and plane to see the entire web if you take the time to look.

  • croaker||

    One mistake:

    Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Neptune)

  • croaker||

    The purpose of harsh mandatory sentences is to deter criminals from committing a crime. This law is trying to deter teenagers from having sex. Let me say that again. This law is trying to deter teenagers from having sex. Canute to the courtesy phone. Paging Canute the Great to the white courtesy phone, please. purpose of harsh mandatory sentences is to deter criminals from committing a crime. This law is trying to deter teenagers from having sex. Let me say that again. This law is trying to deter teenagers from having sex. Canute to the courtesy phone. Paging Canute the Great to the white courtesy phone, please.

  • Outsider||

    You'd think this article would come from the "liberal" (Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, etc.) but no. They all have really few interests on mind. In fact this media made the world fall into panic about sexual freedom by exaggerating and distorting the facts which have actually motivated authoritarian and religious scum to impose their ideas or else be incarcerated forever, like in any 3rd world (especially Muslim) nation.

    Only Reason is exposing the massive incarceration American system, all other media only do so from time to time or actually support that, such as foxnews.

  • Bob Mitchell||

    It is this kind of stuff that ends the Republican Party's future.

  • 1980-f||

    The punishments for looking at pictures on the internet are mindlessly vindictive, whatever the age of the viewer. Lawmakers need to think far more profoundly as to why a man would risk so much just to look at some photos or videos. If someone is genetically predisposed to be sexually attracted to children, that is cause for sympathy and for help to be offered, not for the criminal justice system to jump in with both feet. Lives are ruined all over the western world by this overactive use of convictions and prison.

    The people affected are not just the men who will serve a long time and then be reliant upon the taxpayer to support them for the rest of their life as no-one will employ a man with the letters S.O. after his name. These men have families, children who love and need them; they might have employees who will lose their jobs.

    The theory that to look at such images creates a market and therefore more alleged victims is just that: a theory. No-one has yet shown how it works in practice. In addition, the public must take on trust that what the horrified policeman says is true, that the images were - as they always claim - "the worst I have ever seen, with babies being raped". Can we always trust the police to tell us the truth, especially when we have no means to verify it? How has that worked out before now?

  • aimless blade||

    Christian House = Sharia Law

  • jbsnc||

    15 years? Really? No wonder I have little desire to vote for almost ANY politician running for ANY office. In time, 90% have one primary goal = Themselves.

  • Queen Screwup||

    Stupid people tend to double down rather than admit their mistakes.

  • ||

    If a teenager goads a friend to ask a teenager to take a sexually explicit image of herself, just by asking, he could be guilty of conspiracy or attempt, and the judge must sentence that teenager to at least 15 years in prison.

    If a teenage girl takes and then shares selfies that can later be deemed inappropriate, she or any bureaucrat who finds out can inflict a 15 yr. sentence on anyone she shared them with, whether they asked for them or not.

    I've been advised on these very forums that advising or expecting teen girls (or adult women) not to take naked selfies at all is absurd and they (more teen girls less adult women) just don't have the agency to refuse. Ergo, consent wasn't given until proven otherwise and even then, incredible claims require incredible evidence. Explicit videos of consent produced by the teen girls themselves will be regarded like talking animal videos. They may as well conduct the trial(s) via YouTube, and make the sentencing entirely dependent on commentators' sentiments.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Carolina could end the evil by giving Trooper Tillet his badge and service pistol back, then electing Solicitor Chrissy Adams State Attorney General. I'll wager there'd be hardly a teenager alive by the following November. That would set an example to deter other potential juvenile wrongdoers.

  • keddaw||

    Quoting the bible to justify a law in a secular country? Only in America. Or Turkey.

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