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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.

You Are Probably A Child Pornographer

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...

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