Thursday, June 1, 2017

Teen sexters subject to 15 years in prison under House-passed bill

Elizabeth Nolan Brown reports at Reason.com that teens who text explicit photos to one another could face 15 year mandatory minimum sentences under a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Brown reports on the "Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017," introduced by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana).  Two Republicans and 53 Democrats voted against the bill.

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.
Read the full article here.

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