That's my helpful legal tip of the day for all of the Florida teens who happen to be regular readers of Sui Generis. I'm guessing that number is right about zero, but you never know.
Ok, that's not really my advice; it's the wise advice of an appeals court in Florida. According this CNET/News.com article, the majority held that while the two underage teens, ages 16 and 17, were legally allowed to have sex, their big mistake was photographing the unspecified consensual "sexual behavior" and emailing it from a computer at the female participant's house to the male participant's personal email address. (Hat tip: Overlawyered). When the photos somehow came to the attention of the police, the two teens were prosecuted for, if you can believe it, child pornography charges.
From the majority opinion, which held that the girl's constitutional right to privacy under the State Constitution was not violated by the charges:
Further, if these pictures are ultimately released, future damage may be done to these minors' careers or personal lives. These children are not mature enough to make rational decisions concerning all the possible negative implications of producing these videos. (Emphasis added).
It's fabulous to know that the Court is oh-so-concerned about the possible future damage that may be done to these kids because of the racy photos. But, what of the damage caused to these two people as a result of this ridiculous prosecution and the subsequent convictions for child pornography?
I ask you, dear readers, once again--what has happened to prosecutorial discretion? If ever there was a case that called for the exercise of discretion, this was it. What purpose does a conviction for child pornography serve in this case? Who benefits from the conviction? And, who actually suffered harm in the here and now as a result of the alleged criminal acts? The answers are simple: none, no one and no one. So why in the world were these poor kids prosecuted in the first place?