Tuesday, March 27, 2007


* jeralyn:
"The writing was on the wall last night. Australian detainee David Hicks, brought before a military tribunal at Guantanamo today, agreed to plead guilty to one charge of providing material support to terrorists.
The guilty plea is sure to be seen by administration supporters as an affirmation of its efforts to detain and try terrorism suspects here, although the government’s detention policy still faces significant legal and political challenges.
Baloney. The plea is nothing but a sign that David Hicks wanted to be free one day, and this was the only way to assure it."
yay, us.

* talkleft:
"A federal law criminalizes the "pandering" of child pornography. The pandering law is violated by one who promotes "material or purported material in a manner that reflects the belief, or that is intended to cause another to believe, that the material" visually depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Note that the "material" need not actually depict sexual conduct, or even a minor. Note also that the panderer need not actually believe, and need not intend to advertise the belief, that the "material" depicts minors engaging in sexual conduct. Seems like an awfully vague law that doesn't carefully target actual wrongdoers, doesn't it?"


«—U®Anu§—» said...

"Seems like an awfully vague law that doesn't carefully target actual wrongdoers, doesn't it?" Yes it does, but there's nothing vague about the time you can get; in this state, 14 to 17.5 years. That's a sentence with some real teeth.

I'm glad you brought this up. This is the other local story I thought about posting. He called himself Bentdragonslayer69 in the MSN chat rooms. Thousands of us knew him online.

He was gay but not predatory, and everybody liked him. He was an average guy with extraordinary interests. He didn't say a word to anybody about being under investigation by a federal grand jury, and ten days ago, he resolved things in favor of his inner demons:

A Tulsa man who was charged in a child-pornography case committed suicide during the weekend, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Harlan Harris, 46, became the third defendant in the last year to kill himself while free on bond in unrelated Tulsa federal court criminal cases.

Harris reportedly hanged himself; his body was discovered at his home early Sunday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Snow said Monday.

A federal grand jury alleged in a February indictment that Harris had distributed two computerized images of child pornography in late 2005. He also was charged with possessing child pornography.

Harris had pleaded not guilty at his Feb. 12 arraignment but was due to appear in court Monday for a change-of-plea hearing.

Snow said it appeared that he would have faced 14 to 17 1/2 years in prison had he pleaded guilty.

The altruistic assistant U.S. attorney gave his consolation:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Horn, chief of the Tulsa U.S. Attorney's Office's Criminal Division, said prosecutors ask that defendants be held in jail in just about every case in which a "crime of violence," such as child pornography, is involved.

What bullshit this is. I don't have the official story, but from what I know it goes something like this: Harlan did some stuff I wouldn't have done. He liked teenage boys and found a guy who let him take some photos. He sent two of them by internet, probably to the kid himself. Someone, probably his parents, saw the pictures and called the cops. He wasn't a guy who I sensed would pressure anyone with unwanted attention.

But the statute doesn't make that distinction, it's just a blanket law which hopes to suck up as many people as it can, and deliver a really long sentence.

Janet told me the push to write it and others like it came from John "America's Most Wanted" Walsh in the 1990s. That's what happens when you let emotional pea-brains write laws: you get a law that doesn't stop the unwanted behavior, and is essentially the death penalty for someone who didn't commit a violent crime (despite what Doug Horn says).

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Here is the MSN group thread about it, in which I wrote under the nickname ะะะะ≈•»—¤—«•≈ะะะะ, and there's a picture of him.

I tried to use that as a nickname here instead of Uranus, but Blogger didn't like it at all.