Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Much Ado About Sexting

The infamous sexting case in Wyoming County ended today not with - if you'll pardon the pun - a bang, but with a whimper.

A federal judge issued a permanent injunction that prevents prosecutors in Wyoming County from filing charges against one of the Tunkhannock area teens involved in the 2008 case. The judge made the ruling based largely on the fact that the current district attorney (who was not the one who initially threatened the charges) said he had no intention of prosecuting the teen. (The previous DA had already said he would not prosecute two other teens involved in the case) The DA made that statement earlier this year after a federal appeals court issued a temporary restraining order that prevented the filing of any charges.

THIS article regarding that temporary restraining order does a pretty good job of explaining the issue. The key factors are 1) the judge said prosecutors could not prove that the girls knowingly sent the pictures to others; and 2) the judge's opinion that forcing the teens to attend a class about the alleged dangers of sexting violated the civil rights of parents to raise their children as they wish.

The issue that the ruling does not address is whether sexting would be considered protected free speech under the First Amendment.

So, long story short, after 18 months and numerous court rulings, everyone's older, the lawyers have more money, and we're pretty much back where we started.

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