The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:24 PM
ModernPrimate ModernPrimate is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 160
How can some people go to jail for 2+ years for being on To Catch A Predator?

It's not on so much this side of the Atlantic, but I'm really taken aback by some of the sentencing. The decoys beg the other chatter over and over to come, and they engage in extremely explicit material themselves.

There was this fat guy who seemed like a really nice guy that just happened to be in the area. He got put in jail for 21 months... 21 months hard time in prison for a good man who got lured. That's ridiculous. That completely sucks. He just happened to be in the wrong chatroom at the wrong time.

And what the hell is with the police guns and police brutality? Jesus. Nobody is going to pull a firearm. He had just been chatting with Chris Hanson, if he had a gun he would obviously have pulled it out then. No, it's all for the drama.

The police there ran at him so fast and rugby-tackled or American football tackled him down on the hard concrete except the guy that did it literally smacked him over the head first after shouting "GET DOWN ON THE GOD DAMN GROUND!", as if it were a friggin terrorist situation. I'm sure he really loved acting like he were some kind of hero in a movie, stupid bastard.

I mean it's crazy stuff. If they had gone ahead and had the sex by actually luring a 14 year old girl, okay... 21 months there is fine. It's a nasty thing to lure a girl into having sex. But here it's the underage girls who did the luring. It's a joke. But jail is really harsh, nobody wants to go to jail.

A huge amount of policemen are some of the most messed up individuals you could ever come across. They often have incredible power issues. The last thing you want to do is put any sort of power in these guys' hands.

Last edited by ModernPrimate; 10-06-2011 at 10:26 PM..
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:29 PM
Capitaine Zombie Capitaine Zombie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Can you post a link with some material ?
  #3  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:36 PM
Walmarticus Walmarticus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
If they had gone ahead and had the sex by actually luring a 14 year old girl, okay... 21 months there is fine.
I think if they actually lured and had sex with a 14 year old girl, 21 months is not fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
A huge amount of policemen are some of the most messed up individuals you could ever come across. They often have incredible power issues. The last thing you want to do is put any sort of power in these guys' hands.
I've never heard this one before

Naw but seriously, I find it hard to believe that any of these police officers brutalized suspects when they knew full well they were being filmed by a goddamn TV crew.
  #4  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:39 PM
Isaacedwardleibowitz Isaacedwardleibowitz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
I agree that To Catch a Predator is ridiculously out of bounds. What is perhaps worse than the prison sentences is the fact that these men have their reputations ruined on national television - and all for ratings. One of the victims committed suicide while the crew were waiting outside his house. I'm not defending men who chat with teenage girls on the internet, but ruining people's lives for TV spectacle seems sinister to me.
  #5  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:45 PM
ZPG Zealot ZPG Zealot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Internet predators luring teenagers are the 21st century version of the satanic cult abusing children hysteria the U.S. had in the 80s and early 90s (check out the book Satantic Panic for a more detailed explanation of how the stupidity works in moral panics). American statutory rape laws are such that an underaged person can never actually be considered capable of consenting to sex with someone older than them (outside of a narrow age range covered under the Romeo & Juliet laws). Why is this, and why are the sentences the way? Welll, I think it's because it allows local politicians and law enforcement to say they are tough on child predators and it allows lazy or incompetent parents to feel better and believe that someone else is protecting their child.

Last edited by ZPG Zealot; 10-06-2011 at 10:46 PM..
  #6  
Old 10-06-2011, 10:52 PM
Capitaine Zombie Capitaine Zombie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
I dont understand the legality of police forces assisting a TV show. I would have thought that that kind of shit would taint the evidence.
  #7  
Old 10-06-2011, 11:08 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 9,876
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie View Post
Can you post a link with some material ?
I think you mean, [Chris Hansen]Can you post a link with some material?[/Chris Hansen]
  #8  
Old 10-07-2011, 01:00 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
They get arrested for crossing state lines to procure sex from a minor. They always suggest the visit themselves, not the people pretending to be a child, and are explicit about what they're going to do once they get there.

TBH, as much as I disliked the show (I watched it only because I was subtitling it) I never felt sorry for the paedophiles. They weren't led into what they were saying or doing - it was all their choice and their own words. One of them had, in his car, not only sex toys and condoms but duct tape and a gun, all together in one bag to take into the house.

It was basically a show where everyone including the viewers were horrible people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie View Post
I dont understand the legality of police forces assisting a TV show. I would have thought that that kind of shit would taint the evidence.
Quite a few of the arrests never made it to court. I'm having trouble finding a cite other than Wikipedia for this right now though.
  #9  
Old 10-07-2011, 01:02 AM
ModernPrimate ModernPrimate is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie View Post
Can you post a link with some material ?
It's a popular show, there are a lot of clips of it on youtube (though there are many satirical versions on youtube so be aware you might come across one of those).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie View Post
I dont understand the legality of police forces assisting a TV show. I would have thought that that kind of shit would taint the evidence.
I think this is why Chris Hanson keeps saying that: "while we're doing our operation, the state police are doing their separate investigation at the same time". Then you have the issue of entrapment.

They also have the ability to edit everything, if they don't like it (for example the guy saying what the decoy said which is often explicit) they can just leave it out. Some of the guys say they knew something was probably up and the reason they knew is because the decoys were so insistent on them coming over.

I also don't get why they're allowed to broadcast the person either without their permission, using their image as entertainment and to make money. A show like Cops is different because you are just observing law enforcement, sort of like how you can view a public trial. But Chris isn't interviewing them on behalf of the state. Some shows, especially satirical shows have to get written consent that they allow a person to show their face on tv.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_rights

The fact that it's a private premises makes it even worse. Imagine if a man invited a woman to her home and they had sex, and then she found out later he had recorded it and was selling it. Would that be legal? If a person invites you into their premises, there is an assumed element of trust, which is why if you fall and break your leg due to their negligance you can sue them for it.

It reminds me a bit of an episode of The Outer Limits where reality tv meets law enforcement for the sake of tv ratings, with obviously bad consequences.

I wouldn't be against them getting a slap on the wrist for it, but 21 months is harsh. I think one guy even got 6 years, but the judge thought he was lying in court or something. In other states they get like 30 days, but when you put a person in prison at all it's a big deal and I bet they're actually more likely to reoffend in some way after they know how prison works.

Last edited by ModernPrimate; 10-07-2011 at 01:04 AM..
  #10  
Old 10-07-2011, 01:40 AM
thirdname thirdname is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
According to Wikipedia, the guy who killed himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Conradt) didn't even try to meet the bait in person. He engaged in sexual chats and solicited dick pics from an actor who was posing as a 13-year-old.
  #11  
Old 10-07-2011, 08:37 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
So far as I'm aware, each and every instance of contact is carefully executed so that there is no luring at all -- the idea for the visit and any acitivities to be done therein always has to come from the suspect, not the faux-teen on the other end of the chat. Dateline worked with Perverted-Justice to run these stings, and the logs of each and every chat are available at their website.

Why don't you locate a chat log that you believe shows entrapment or an inappropriate lure, and show me what you mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
They also have the ability to edit everything, if they don't like it (for example the guy saying what the decoy said which is often explicit) they can just leave it out. Some of the guys say they knew something was probably up and the reason they knew is because the decoys were so insistent on them coming over.
And the defense lawyers have the ability to obtain unedited material for trial, and use unedited chat logs for defense.

Do you have any explanation for their universal failure to show this material that would be so critically helpful to their clients' defense?

Last edited by Bricker; 10-07-2011 at 08:39 AM..
  #12  
Old 10-07-2011, 08:49 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
In reading the OP's posts in this thread again, I can't tell if his complaint is about the legal sufficiency of the evidence gathered by the show or about the legality of the sentences imposed after conviction.

My last post addresses the legal sufficiency of the evidence gathered.

As to the length of sentences imposed on persons convicted:

Va Code 18.2-374.3 forbids any person over 18 from using a computer system to propose sexual intercourse or other sexual acts to any person under 18. This is a Class 5 felony in Virginia, punishable with a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years. So in Virginia, a sentence of six years for this act is well within the sentencing discretion of the judge.

What state's laws did you believe these sentences exceeded?
  #13  
Old 10-07-2011, 08:51 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdname View Post
According to Wikipedia, the guy who killed himself (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Conradt) didn't even try to meet the bait in person. He engaged in sexual chats and solicited dick pics from an actor who was posing as a 13-year-old.
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that an actual 13 year old was not involved?
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that he didn't try to meet him in person?

Last edited by Bricker; 10-07-2011 at 08:51 AM..
  #14  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:22 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
I Am the One Who Bans
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 77,316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that an actual 13 year old was not involved?
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that he didn't try to meet him in person?
I think we've seen this debate repeated often enough to know how the argument goes: there's no 13-year-old and there's no sex, so instead of conducting stings, the police should just hope they get lucky and catch child molesters on their way to committ their crimes or try to track them down after the crime has already been committed and someone has already been harmed. This is independent from the fact that To Catch A Predator is (was?) sleazy and it's unfortunate that the police get involved with it.
  #15  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:29 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that an actual 13 year old was not involved?
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that he didn't try to meet him in person?
Perhaps there should be regarding the former, absolutely there should be regarding the latter. This is a situation where technology and the law haven't caught up to one another yet. In the bad old days, the only way a Pedo could obtain a pic was by stalking, abducting or otherwise tricking a minor into a situation where they were together, or very, very close to one another. Now all someone has to do is say "pic plz" and whoever is at the other end can take a webshot and off it goes. It changes the whole nature of the interaction and the meaning of consent. (current legal definitions aside) If a fourteen year old girl is feeling naughty and takes a compromising picture of herself and sends it to another chatter, it is significantly different than a perv lurking the bushes, or tricking her into a dangerous meeting.
  #16  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:30 AM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Do you believe there is some legal significance to the fact that an actual 13 year old was not involved?
I don't want to speak for thirdname but shouldn't there be? I assume that the state's position is, "Well, you thought that you were chatting with a 13yo and that's close enough." Do we really know what the person was thinking? Are we punishing thought crimes?

If the police send a 22yo into a liquor store and the 22yo tells the clerk that they're 20, has the clerk broken the law by selling them liquor?
  #17  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:34 AM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
There was this fat guy who seemed like a really nice guy that just happened to be in the area. He got put in jail for 21 months... 21 months hard time in prison for a good man who got lured. That's ridiculous. That completely sucks. He just happened to be in the wrong chatroom at the wrong time.
I completely disagree. "wrong chatroom at the wrong time?" No.

I guarantee that I will not ever be going to a chatroom and agreeing to travel to have sex with a child. This guy knew full well what he was doing. He knew it was wrong. He knew the age of the child.

You cannot convince me that he was in the "wrong place at the wrong time" He was there for the express purpose of having sex with a child. And he was caught.

Last edited by Euphonious Polemic; 10-07-2011 at 09:36 AM..
  #18  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:40 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
Perhaps there should be regarding the former, absolutely there should be regarding the latter. This is a situation where technology and the law haven't caught up to one another yet. In the bad old days, the only way a Pedo could obtain a pic was by stalking, abducting or otherwise tricking a minor into a situation where they were together, or very, very close to one another. Now all someone has to do is say "pic plz" and whoever is at the other end can take a webshot and off it goes. It changes the whole nature of the interaction and the meaning of consent. (current legal definitions aside) If a fourteen year old girl is feeling naughty and takes a compromising picture of herself and sends it to another chatter, it is significantly different than a perv lurking the bushes, or tricking her into a dangerous meeting.
Perhaps.

But the state of Virginia is not taking some ancient law about luring and applying it to this modern interaction. The law in Virginia specifically contemplates computer communication, and punishes a person over 18 who uses a computer system to suggest sexual activity to a person under 18.

You may believe that this kid of conduct should be legal, or should be punished less harshly, and you're welcome to that opinion. But you cannot complain that the law is the result of outdated legislation meeting the computer age; the law was written after the computer age and specifically mentions the use of computers. The legislature intended to reach computer communication with this law.
  #19  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:45 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
I don't feel even a little bit bad for guys whose idea of fun is meeting with a thirteen year old bringing condoms and a six pack of Mikes Hard Lemonade.

Read some of the transcripts on Perverted Justice. This is not people going in and enticing upright people to cross the line. We're not talking about a fake seventeen year old in bikini pics going into a sex chat room and dinging them for chatting back.

These are guys who go into little-kid chat rooms, talk to people who make it well known that they are little kids (complete with little kid photos, not sexy pics), propose sexual things to them and then take the initiative to arrange to go meet them.

They do all of the leading. Fuck 'em.
  #20  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:48 AM
Death of Rats Death of Rats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
I don't want to speak for thirdname but shouldn't there be? I assume that the state's position is, "Well, you thought that you were chatting with a 13yo and that's close enough." Do we really know what the person was thinking? Are we punishing thought crimes?

If the police send a 22yo into a liquor store and the 22yo tells the clerk that they're 20, has the clerk broken the law by selling them liquor?
I would think this would be the first line of defense these guys would take. If I claim that I was aware that the 'bait' person was over the age of 18 and was engaging in playacting and came over expecting to meet an adult for sex, what is the State's rebuttal when all they can produce is an adult who was playacting who invited me over for sex?
  #21  
Old 10-07-2011, 09:49 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Perhaps.

But the state of Virginia is not taking some ancient law about luring and applying it to this modern interaction. The law in Virginia specifically contemplates computer communication, and punishes a person over 18 who uses a computer system to suggest sexual activity to a person under 18.

You may believe that this kid of conduct should be legal, or should be punished less harshly, and you're welcome to that opinion. But you cannot complain that the law is the result of outdated legislation meeting the computer age; the law was written after the computer age and specifically mentions the use of computers. The legislature intended to reach computer communication with this law.
When was that law drafted? There has been a rather fast and dramatic increase in video content over the last few years. Chat rooms have been around since the nineties after all.
  #22  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:01 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
I don't want to speak for thirdname but shouldn't there be? I assume that the state's position is, "Well, you thought that you were chatting with a 13yo and that's close enough." Do we really know what the person was thinking? Are we punishing thought crimes?

If the police send a 22yo into a liquor store and the 22yo tells the clerk that they're 20, has the clerk broken the law by selling them liquor?
I don't know what you think you mean by "thought crimes."

In the usual use of the term, a "thought crime" would be the crime merely of thinking something bad, accompanied by no action at all. If that's what you mean, then no: we're not punishing thought crime.

Perhaps you mean "thought crime" as requiring both a certain mental state as well as a certain action to exist before we punish. That's true, and is almost always true for nearly the entirety of the criminal code. With rare exceptions, every crime requires both the actus reus -- the guity act -- and the mens rea -- the guilty state of mind.
  #23  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:05 AM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death of Rats View Post
I would think this would be the first line of defense these guys would take. If I claim that I was aware that the 'bait' person was over the age of 18 and was engaging in playacting and came over expecting to meet an adult for sex, what is the State's rebuttal when all they can produce is an adult who was playacting who invited me over for sex?
Usually they catch people saying things like "You're not a cop, right?" or "I really shouldn't be doing this, I could get in trouble." They acknowledge that they know what they are doing is illegal- which you wouldn't do in a role play that is obviously legal.
  #24  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:07 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death of Rats View Post
I would think this would be the first line of defense these guys would take. If I claim that I was aware that the 'bait' person was over the age of 18 and was engaging in playacting and came over expecting to meet an adult for sex, what is the State's rebuttal when all they can produce is an adult who was playacting who invited me over for sex?
You may as well ask, "How can the state ever convict me of attempted murder, when I claim that all I ever intended to do was wound my victim and all they can produce is one wounded but alive victim?"

Here, they produce the chat logs and the profile pictures that were visible to you, and they ask the jury to infer you intended the obvious.

The jury is free to credit your testimony. If they do, of course, they will acquit you of the crime. The jury is also free to disregard your testimony and believe the chat logs and picture mean that you thought you were meeting an underage partner.

This is not new. In every crime that requires intent, the state has to prove what you were thinking, and they do that by the inference that you intended the ordinary results of your actions.
  #25  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:09 AM
Sitnam Sitnam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaacedwardleibowitz View Post
I agree that To Catch a Predator is ridiculously out of bounds. What is perhaps worse than the prison sentences is the fact that these men have their reputations ruined on national television - and all for ratings. One of the victims committed suicide while the crew were waiting outside his house. I'm not defending men who chat with teenage girls on the internet, but ruining people's lives for TV spectacle seems sinister to me.
Defending these guys is exactly what you're doing. Those 'nice guys' who show up think they're going to have sex with an underage girl and you think its sinister that their reputations get ruined?

The public shame is well deserved.
  #26  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:09 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
When was that law drafted? There has been a rather fast and dramatic increase in video content over the last few years. Chat rooms have been around since the nineties after all.
In 2007.
  #27  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:12 AM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
In 2007.
Huh. I concede the point then.

I still think that there is a huge issue of both consent, and lack of physical meeting though.

Last edited by Acid Lamp; 10-07-2011 at 10:12 AM..
  #28  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:21 AM
drachillix drachillix is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZPG Zealot View Post
Internet predators luring teenagers are the 21st century version of the satanic cult abusing children hysteria the U.S. had in the 80s and early 90s (check out the book Satantic Panic for a more detailed explanation of how the stupidity works in moral panics).
Not even close, there are several dozen bait players chatting with men looking for sex with underaged girls in any given day.
  #29  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:28 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
It's not on so much this side of the Atlantic, but I'm really taken aback by some of the sentencing. The decoys beg the other chatter over and over to come, and they engage in extremely explicit material themselves.
Cite for the claim that the decoys beg the other chatter to come?
  #30  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:31 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
Huh. I concede the point then.

I still think that there is a huge issue of both consent, and lack of physical meeting though.
OK. The state legislature disagrees with you. They believe it should be criminal to offer sexual activity even without meeting -- that a crime happens the moment you propose the sexual activity.

And even if that law didn't exist, the general law of attempt says that if you try to commit a crime, but are thwarted by some outside circumstance, you're guilty of attempting the crime.
  #31  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:33 AM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Perhaps you mean "thought crime" as requiring both a certain mental state as well as a certain action to exist before we punish. That's true, and is almost always true for nearly the entirety of the criminal code. With rare exceptions, every crime requires both the actus reus -- the guity act -- and the mens rea -- the guilty state of mind.
Then in the case of chatting with someone pretending to be something that they are not, what is the actus reus?

Would you mind addressing my liquor store question? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm just really interested in the answer because I don't have a clue.
  #32  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:35 AM
drachillix drachillix is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
I also don't get why they're allowed to broadcast the person either without their permission, using their image as entertainment and to make money. A show like Cops is different because you are just observing law enforcement, sort of like how you can view a public trial. But Chris isn't interviewing them on behalf of the state. Some shows, especially satirical shows have to get written consent that they allow a person to show their face on tv.
Cops also ends up blurring stuff here and there too.

You are seeing the guys who did give permission.
  #33  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:39 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
I think some of the shock of the OP, is any on of us, under certain circumstances can be tempted into something illegal. We all have weaknesses and there are situations we find ourselves in where little by little by little we fall into them without even knowing we were going there and without any intentions in doing so. For someone be be leading a normal and even productive life to have to deal with imprisonment and lets face it with this crime, a lifetime of public disgrace, for a human weakness is a scary thought.
  #34  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:40 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
Then in the case of chatting with someone pretending to be something that they are not, what is the actus reus?
Sure. The act is using a computer to propose sexual activity to a person you have reason to believe is less than 15 years of age.

Quote:
Would you mind addressing my liquor store question? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm just really interested in the answer because I don't have a clue.
Not at all. "If the police send a 22yo into a liquor store and the 22yo tells the clerk that they're 20, has the clerk broken the law by selling them liquor?"

Probably, yes. If the state has a rule that all persons who appear to be under the age of 30, for example, must be carded, then the clerk broke that law.

If the state has a law that you can't sell liquor to a person under 21, then the clerk may have attempted to break that law. And as a general principle, the law of attempt says that an attempted crime is itself a crime, and can be punished.
  #35  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:41 AM
drachillix drachillix is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
Then in the case of chatting with someone pretending to be something that they are not, what is the actus reus?
If you buy a kilo of baking soda from an undercover cop believing you had purchased cocaine, you have fallen into the same trap. There was no real drug dealer and there was no real coke are not going to be valid defenses

Quote:
Would you mind addressing my liquor store question? I'm not trying to be snarky or anything, I'm just really interested in the answer because I don't have a clue.
If someone made such a statement, you don't sell to them, you have just been given reasonable information to believe you are about to do something illegal (sell to under 21).
  #36  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:44 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
If you buy a kilo of baking soda from an undercover cop believing you had purchased cocaine, you have fallen into the same trap. There was no real drug dealer and there was no real coke are not going to be valid defenses
Correct. And the same two possibilites exist: the state may have a law against buying or selling counterfeit contraband, and even if they don't, you have attempted to buy contraband with the attempt itself being a crime.
  #37  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:49 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Read some of the transcripts on Perverted Justice.
Holy shit!

Quote:
This is not people going in and enticing upright people to cross the line. We're not talking about a fake seventeen year old in bikini pics going into a sex chat room and dinging them for chatting back.
I wasn't inclined to defend these guys in the first place, but if the above transcript is even close to typical, I've gone from "Hopefully this'll learn 'em" to "AUGH LOCK THESE PEOPLE UP FOREVER!" And I never think that about anyone, ever.
  #38  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:50 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
I think some of the shock of the OP, is any on of us, under certain circumstances can be tempted into something illegal. We all have weaknesses and there are situations we find ourselves in where little by little by little we fall into them without even knowing we were going there and without any intentions in doing so. For someone be be leading a normal and even productive life to have to deal with imprisonment and lets face it with this crime, a lifetime of public disgrace, for a human weakness is a scary thought.
Read the transcript I just linked to and tell me if it changes your mind at all.
  #39  
Old 10-07-2011, 10:52 AM
drachillix drachillix is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by ModernPrimate View Post
The decoys beg the other chatter over and over to come, and they engage in extremely explicit material themselves.
The decoys do not beg, at all. The instructions are quite specific, you let them suggest, let them make the first move, never accept the first offer, always make sure the target thinks you are the age you claim.

Alot of the bait players will say things like "I'm only 14, isn't that kinda weird/creepy/odd" The guy will reply with something to the extent that she seems so mature, that such things are just misunderstood, love does not recognize the difference in age, whatever.

If a chat wanders into territory that PJ feels will lead to an easy entrapment defense, it never leaves PJ, and is never prosecuted.
  #40  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:00 AM
Toucanna Toucanna is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
{snip}If the police send a 22yo into a liquor store and the 22yo tells the clerk that they're 20, has the clerk broken the law by selling them liquor?
My husband, whose place of business sells alcohol, says that to the best of his belief and knowledge, as far as Texas law is concerned, no illegal activity took place under this scenario. However, for the purposes of this discussion, the scenario you propose is not analogous.

What would be analogous is having undercover officers (who are over the age of 21) hang out at an "under-21 club". When over-21s come in and proposition attendees (that they believe are under-age) to consume alcohol that they will provide, the UC officers arrest the over-21s for contributing to the delinquency of a minor (among other charges). Admittedly a gross over-simplification, but in this situation and in the "Perverted Justice" cases, the one proposing to break the law is the of-age person, not the supposed-minor.

While I am no fan of these "gotcha" shows, it is my understanding that the online decoys neither initiate contact nor propose meet-ups with the adults. The decoys' response to any proposition is something along the lines of, "mmm...okay...whatever you say", which does not constitute entrapment, IMO.

As for the "public humiliation" factor, if those arrested do not think they have done anything wrong, then why do they act as though they are ashamed of their actions? Further, why should they be ashamed? If they believe strongly that they are innocent of the charges and/or that the laws are draconian, they should fight them, and do so very publicly. We've seen many total nut-jobs successfully pushing wacky or sick agendas into the public eye merely by being tirelessly vociferous about them.

Last edited by Toucanna; 10-07-2011 at 11:05 AM.. Reason: clarity
  #41  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:01 AM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
If you buy a kilo of baking soda from an undercover cop believing you had purchased cocaine, you have fallen into the same trap. There was no real drug dealer and there was no real coke are not going to be valid defenses
Thanks drachillix and Bricker. The only difference that I can see between the 13yo and the cocaine analogy (and I admit that it's pretty weak) is that it is reasonable (although unlikely) that the perv could have thought that he was chatting with someone pretending to be something that they were not. And in fact, he was. He could get his rocks off on the role play. The cocaine analogy is a little different in that it would not be reasonable to think that someone was willing to buy a kilo of baking soda for a million dollars (or whatever coke is going for).
  #42  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:04 AM
furt furt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
So far as I'm aware, each and every instance of contact is carefully executed so that there is no luring at all
Bollocks. They are carefully executed so that they do not meet the level of luring that meets legal standards for entrapment. That does not mean there is not some level of "luring" is some cases.

I think everyone concedes that TCAP generally keeps their Ps and Qs crossed on the letter of the law. People are objecting to the spirit of the enterprise, which does not comport with the way we would like law enforcement to act.

Last edited by furt; 10-07-2011 at 11:06 AM..
  #43  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:07 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by furt View Post
Bollocks. They are carefully executed so that they do not meet the level of luring that meets legal standards for entrapment. That does not mean they are not nonetheless going out looking for what they find.

I think everyone concedes that TCAP generally keeps their Ps and Qs crossed on the letter of the law. People are objecting to the spirit of the enterprise, which does not comport with the way we would like law enforcement to act.
Oh, "we" are, huh?

OK. What specific instance of behavior on TCAP's part are you and you cohorts arguing is not consistent with how your crowd wishes law enforcement should act?
  #44  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:11 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
I Am the One Who Bans
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 77,316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nars Glinley View Post
He could get his rocks off on the role play.
Anybody dumb enough to go to a chat room for kids and act like a pedophile assuming the person he is talking to is an adult pretending to be a kid is so stupid he belong in jail for general stupidity.
  #45  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:31 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 14,255
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Va Code 18.2-374.3 forbids any person over 18 from using a computer system to propose sexual intercourse or other sexual acts to any person under 18. This is a Class 5 felony in Virginia, punishable with a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years. So in Virginia, a sentence of six years for this act is well within the sentencing discretion of the judge.
According to Wikipedia, Virginia's age of consent laws make it a class one misdemeanor for someone who is 18 or older to have sex with a child between the ages of 15 to 17.

If that's indeed true, it seems odd to me that an 18 year old sending an email to his/her main squeeze that they should meet up when their parents are out of town is a crime that is potentially ten times more serious than the actual fornication that may follow.

Last edited by Ravenman; 10-07-2011 at 11:32 AM..
  #46  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:52 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
And Full Contact Origami
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 44,293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
According to Wikipedia, Virginia's age of consent laws make it a class one misdemeanor for someone who is 18 or older to have sex with a child between the ages of 15 to 17.

If that's indeed true, it seems odd to me that an 18 year old sending an email to his/her main squeeze that they should meet up when their parents are out of town is a crime that is potentially ten times more serious than the actual fornication that may follow.
By the same token, the sexual intercourse would be a Class 1 misdemeanor but the oral foreplay would still be a felony.

I imagine that prosecutorial discretion would prevent prosecutions in the scenario you describe.

Last edited by Bricker; 10-07-2011 at 11:53 AM..
  #47  
Old 10-07-2011, 11:56 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
Read the transcript I just linked to and tell me if it changes your mind at all.
Frylock, this happens all the time in all aspects of life not just predatory and not just sexual, though sexually usually is very much more evident. Take this except:

Quote:
fleet_captain_jaime_wolfe (2:59:45 PM): NP... We will find out, kristen... DOn't worry...

(Notice her name remains uncapitalized.)

This could be a email or chat between 'friends' or a boss/worker communication. The meaning is the same, as well as the warning.

Not capitalizing one's name is to strike at their importance as a person, I had one 'friend' who would capitalize her name (all letters) and it was a attempt to have her placed as prominently as possible, many returned her emails with her name fully capitalized again reinforcing it.

Also not commented on in the link is the capitalized 'DO', in other words DO worry, a confusing message subconsciously. Confusing the victim is part of SOP.

Also notice his user name, denotes a level of command over others.

This type of stuff is far more common then most people realize, it is so blatant and normal that it goes most of the time undetected, and when pointed out is usually blown off with the victim told they are being too sensitive or some such tactic. (such as asking why they didn't capitalize their name, usually answered with just a typo - bowing off the dimishing of their person hood as a irrelevant mistake that should not have even been brought up, which further diminishes them)

This is want I refer to as spiritual warfare, or the battle for control over one's soul and destiny. If she submits to it she has lost control of a part of her self. In the example it is very evident she accepts his attention and she becomes a slave. Though very similar things happen in all types of relationships, with words and acts of submission having vast consequence.

Does this change my mind from my above statement? Not really, or not a immediate change except more consideration is needed on it which I do thank you for.

Last edited by kanicbird; 10-07-2011 at 11:59 AM..
  #48  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:01 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Combining what you've just said with your previous post, do I understand correctly that you're saying the attempt to mentally dominate an abused 13 year old girl in order to make her a bdsm slave (such as is exhibited in the transcript) is the kind of "human weakness" any of us might find ourselves doing if we're not carefully watching ourselves?

And that for this reason we should be disappointed when a guy like the one in the transcript has to deal with the problem of being imprisoned? (Since that could easily have been us in his place?)
  #49  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:11 PM
even sven even sven is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
The Perverted Justice FAQ has some good explanations.

Regarding entrapment:
Quote:
To the people who like to make that claim, let's deal with an analogy real quick. Pretend that there is a twelve year old sitting in a park dancing around and asking older males for sex. Yes, that extreme of a situation. What should the male say? Yes, or no? Is the prospect of an underage kid so irresistible that we now consider a willing underage kid to be so persuasive that a male can't do anything but say yes? Get real.

So are the files we post "entrapment"? No. Not on any level. These people IM our names first. We don't IM them. They choose to say the things they say, to agree to the things they agree to, and to give their phone number for the verification call. Entrapment is a situation where you go out of your way to entice a citizen as law enforcement to commit a crime they otherwise would not commit. For example, if a department sent around female police pretending to be prostitutes to knock on the doors of private citizens offering sex, that's entrapment. We don't do the figurative "knocking on doors." Rather we sit, wait, and allow them to knock upon our online "door." And when they do, they're in for a surprise. As the law states regarding entrapment, the defense fails when it can be shown that the person being charged had a predisposition to the crime in question. Anyone who knows the law will never make the entrapment argument towards these crimes, because people who know the law understand that these people are predisposed to commit these crimes. It's why they hit us up to begin with.

Hundreds upon hundreds of convictions... zero successful entrapment defenses. Zero.
  #50  
Old 10-07-2011, 12:16 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
Combining what you've just said with your previous post, do I understand correctly that you're saying the attempt to mentally dominate an abused 13 year old girl in order to make her a bdsm slave (such as is exhibited in the transcript) is the kind of "human weakness" any of us might find ourselves doing if we're not carefully watching ourselves?

And that for this reason we should be disappointed when a guy like the one in the transcript has to deal with the problem of being imprisoned? (Since that could easily have been us in his place?)
Frylock I am much more saddened by the victim's position, too much so to really consider his part and what needs to be done. Even if this is a undercover sting and she is a actor, her position is not unheard of - so is a very real situation. I am so taken back from her position I'm not able to really comment on his.

Someone so lonely that they are willing to give up themselves just to have someone in their life. It denotes a much greater problem with modern day society. That problem is where I wish to focus on to. If that can be somehow solved then this situation can't happen. Yes it may seem idealistic, but it is how I view this.

As long as she doesn't receive the Love that is missing in her life she will always be a slave, though it may not be as explicit. So locking him up does not help her, nor other people in her situation.

Last edited by kanicbird; 10-07-2011 at 12:17 PM..
Closed Thread



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.