Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Young, Foolish, and Felonious
I don't see that changing today.
It's just that there is sooooo much stupidity out there. And so much of the stupid originates in the criminal justice system.
It seems that Arkansas has a relatively new law making it a felony to "exchange sexually explicit material involving anyone under the age of 17" or to distribute, possess or view "matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child." Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Now, don't get me wrong -- I don't have a problem with the law, per se. It's a perfectly acceptable function of government to protect children from those who would exploit them, for whatever reason. But, when government uses laws like this to punish children, it overreaches that function and sets young people on a dangerous path that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Yep, the Jacksonville Police busted three young teenagers who had been "sexting" with one another and charged them with felonies. The sexted videos had been messaged to other kids, too. The kids are a 14 year-old boy and two girls, ages 13 and 14. In other words, they are young enough to be daredevils, ignorant of the law, and foolish.
I have a problem with enforcing laws upon a class of people the laws were designed to protect -- in this case, children under 17 years of age. At least the kids were charged in Juvenile Court instead of County Criminal Court. Hopefully the Juvy Judge will find a way to make this felony expungeable so these kids aren't stamped with a Scarlet "Felon" from the get-go and for the rest of their lives. Their reputations are already trashed. Even if the offense was committed by their own doing, they need to be made aware of the ramifications of the transgression without bearing the full clout of a felony.
The Legislature needs to work on this statute a bit -- give it some much-needed tweaking. But, oh nooooooo. They're too busy debating critical matters like the constitutionality of requiring Voter ID and whether we should have more biking paths.