Mar 192010
 
 March 19, 2010  Court, Youth & Schools

Dan Goodin reports:

A federal appeals court rebuked a Pennsylvania district attorney who threatened to file felony child pornography charges against teens who were photographed semi-nude unless they attended an “education program”.

In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday by the appeals court in Philadelphia, a three-judge panel said the threat amounted to a “Hobson’s Choice” that would retaliate against one of the girls and her family for exercising their constitutional right to free speech. A rare dose of government-issued sanity in the prosecutorial crusade against teenage ‘sexting’, the ruling upheld a lower-court order issued last year in the case.

Read more in The Register.

Ashby Jones of the Wall Strreet Journal also covers the decision:

Do teens, tweens or anyone else under 18 have a First Amendment right to send sexually explicit messages or photos through their cell phones? …. The Third Circuit, in this opinion, decided to punt on the First Amendment issue. But the ruling was a win for the girl, a then 16-year-old from a town near Scranton, Pa. The three judges said a prosecutor could not charge her merely for appearing in a photograph without evidence she had engaged in distributing it.

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