A 17-year-old teenager in Virginia is in trouble with the law, after he sent his 15-year-old girlfriend a video of his penis. Naturally, authorities have obtained a warrant to photograph the defendant’s penis. What? Why should that be a problem? It’s not as though America has a constitutional amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures.
What’s that? Oh? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I see. Ok, thank you.
I’m sorry, folks. I’m being told we do have a Constitutional amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures. Strange.
Well, just in case you’re keeping score, here’s how things currently stand:
Exchanging sexual images to an apparently-willing partner1, if you’re both under 18. This is a felony for “manufacturing and distributing child pornography”.
Forcing a minor to get an erection, then photographing it. This is apparently not an unreasonable search, nor “manufacturing child pornography”.
I don’t have detailed knowledge of the facts here.2 However, even a cursory glance seems to show excessive charges and potential penalties, along with a proposed police procedure that appears at the least to be both invasive and unreasonable.
Update (July 11th, 2014): It appears the police have backed down, following global outcry.
According to reports, this began when the 15-year-old girl sent photos of herself to the defendant, and the girl’s mother filed the complaint, not the girl herself. ↩︎
I do note that the 15-year-old girl has not been charged in any way. It’s not clear whether this is due to her age, her gender, or some other factor. ↩︎