Vice Squad
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Briar Patch Justice

Apologies for bloggish neglect of late -- Tbilisi does not believe in blogging. But I have pried a moment away from my khachapuri to send along an update on those federal obscenity charges aimed at a woman who placed sexually violent stories on the internet. Among the unusual features of this prosecution is that the charges -- which concerned adult obscenity only, even though some of the characters in her fictional tales were minors -- were aimed at text, mere words: there were no drawings or photos. A second unusual feature is that the defendant, who seems to have had a hard life, suffers from agoraphobia. This latter feature played a role in the resolution of the case, because she was in no condition to be coming to a courtroom for weeks on end. The woman has agreed to a settlement in which she pleads guilty and is sentenced to --- home confinement, to which her medical condition had essentially sentenced her long ago. A sad story all around, though not as sad as what might have happened with a full blown trial. And federal prosecutors have succeeded in cleaning up the internet through this fiendishly clever legal maneuvering. Of course, it has come at some cost: they may have momentarily averted their gaze from that dastardly Tommy Chong.

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