Thursday, February 25, 2010
No Pornography Viewers Stoneridge
"When Amy was a little girl, her uncle made her famous in the worst way: as a star in the netherworld of child pornography. ... Now, with the help of an inventive lawyer, the young woman known as Amy--her real name has been withheld in court to prevent harassmant--is fighting back. She is demanding that everyone convicted of possessing even a single Misty image pay her damages until her total claim of $3.4 million has been met. Some experts argue that forcing payment from people who do not produce such images but only possess them goes too far. ... For years, lawmakers (and some voters) have reasoned that virtually no punishment was too severe for such criminals; even statutory limits on sentencing were often exceeded. Now some courts have begun to push back, saying these heavy sentences are improper, and a new emphasis has arisen on making sex offenders pay monetary damages for their crimes. ... On Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled 5 to 2 that a state ballot initiative allowing the indefinite extension of sentences for sexually violent predators might violate consitutional guarantees of equal protection; the court ordered a new hearing to explore the issues. On Monday, the court also asked for more study on a law that prohibits sexual predators from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park after their release from prison. The law, called Jessica's law, was approved by voters in 2006", John Schwartz at the NYT, 3 February 2010, link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/us/03offender.html.
This ruling was absurd. Pornography viewers should not be liable to Amy under any vicarious liability concept I understand. Why? Because the "conspiracy" to film Amy ended years ago. This is like saying a stolen merchandise "fence" should be held under the felony-murder rule if one conspirator in a robbery conspiracy killed a bank guard during the robbery. Huh? See how the Supremes treated a similar concept in Stoneridge, my 26 January 2008 post:
http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2008/01/supreme-injustice.html. I guess pornography viewers need to hire Hogan & Hartson to get this type of liability thrown out.