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John A. Steakely

Attorney John Steakley is a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He began his career as the Special Prosecutor for Drug Crimes for a multi-county, multi-agency drug task force in Tennessee, where he represented the State of Tennessee in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases in a 5-county judicial district.

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You Are Probably A Child Pornographer

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Much like the Jeff Foxworthy "You Might Be A Redneck If . . ." series, I wish someone would start a "You Might Be A Child Pornographer" series to demonstrate just how far and wide government powers go, to the point that it's difficult to avoid stepping over the line.

Do you have children? When they were young did they ever run around the house naked? Did you ever take a picture or video of it to show your spouse? If so, then you might be a child pornographer.

Judge Throws Out Case Against "Child Pornographer"

A judge sided with Todd Hoffner, head coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, by throwing out the child porn charges against him last Friday.

The judge said the cellphone video was nothing more than children playfully dancing naked after a bath.

"I'm just so thankful to be waking up from this nightmare," Hoffner said after the ruling, which came more than three months after the coach was escorted off a practice field and later arrested.

Now, Hoffner said, he wants to get back on the sideline. But it's unclear when that may happen.

The university said he would remain on leave until its own investigation was complete, and school spokesman Don Benson said he had no timetable as to when that might happen.

Hoffner was charged after a school employee found the video on his university-issued cellphone and notified authorities. Hoffner had taken his problematic phone to work to be checked out.

Hoffner testified earlier that his three young children asked him to videotape a skit they had concocted after taking a bubble bath.

A search of his home computer found no evidence of child porn, and social workers found no evidence that the couple's children had been abused.


Good job, judge. Now the citizens of that town need to make sure their DA doesn't get re-elected.
 
While this sounds like a happy ending, read between the lines.  This guy:
  1. was arrested
  2. was booked into jail for child pornography
  3. had his home searched
  4. had his computer searched
  5. had his friends interviewed
  6. was put on leave from his job
  7. had his children interviewed by social workers
  8. had to post bail
  9. probably couldn't be alone with his kids
  10. had to hire a lawyer

    Sounds like a "nightmare" indeed.

In Georgia, pretty much ANY picture of ANY naked child for ANY reason (other than medical) counts as child porn, and it does not matter that the person in the picture is the one doing the sending.  A teen who sends a single topless picture of herself to a boyfriend via internet or cell phone is committing a felony and can go to prison. People caught up in cases like this get branded "child pornographer" for life even if the charges are dismissed. Georgia's new "Restriction of Records" law (2013) may not help.

If you get caught up in a nightmare like this guy, call us. We can help.

- John

UPDATE:

For an excellent and quick read about the overcriminalization of, well, just about everything, check out Professor Glenn Reynold's "Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is A Crime."

UPDATE AGAIN:  Welcome Instapundit readers!  Grab some coffee and stay a while...

Don't miss a single post! To be alerted when a new blog post appears (about every other day or so), click on "Subscribe to Blog" near the top of this page.

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Attorney John Steakley is a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. He began his career as the Special Prosecutor for Drug Crimes for a multi-county, multi-agency drug task force in Tennessee, where he represented the State of Tennessee in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases in a 5-county judicial district.


He was selected by the National College of District Attorneys to attend advanced legal seminars in Santa Fe, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Houston. In 2000, he was appointed to the position of Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee by Attorney General Janet Reno, and reappointed again the following year.


In 2001, he accepted an offer from the Gwinnett County District Attorneys Office and spent the next four years representing the State of Georgia in several hundred serious felony cases.   He continues to handle the most serious of cases, often winning outright dismissals of charges, or significant reductions for his clients.  For more about the type of cases Mr. Steakley has handled, click here:  Selected Criminal Cases


SteakleyCh5336x280In 2006 he was a founding partner of Crosby, Haldi & Steakley, LLC, located in Decatur.  Now in private practice since 2007 as John A. Steakley, P.C., headquartered in Marietta, he represents individuals in a wide variety of matters, using his experience to provide his clients with quality legal representation. He is licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Georgia, but focuses almost solely on Georgia.  


In 2012, the Georgia Supreme Court certified him as a Mentor for theTransition Into Law Practice Program, serving as a role model and mentoring young attorneys just entering into the practice of law.  This came on the heels of years of coaching the Emory University Law School's Mock Trial Team in how to be effective and successful courtroom litigators.


In addition to advocating for his clients in the courtroom, Mr. Steakley is a strong proponent of individual liberties.  He co-authored a scholarly work on whether the United States Constitution afforded citizens the right to record their interactions with police even in private places.  This article has garnered attention and raised awareness about this timely legal-technology issue, and was named one of the "Must Read Articles of 2012" by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. 


He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, the Tennessee Court of Civil Appeals, the State Bar of Georgia, the Georgia Supreme Court, the Georgia Court of Appeals, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Gwinnett County Bar Association, and Cobb County Bar Association.


When not practicing law, Mr. Steakley is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys flying around the Southeast.  He has been a pilot since 1999.

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