How a South Jersey Man Used the First Amendment to Dodge ‘Child Erotica’ Charge
A South Jersey man charged with creating 'child erotica' reportedly claims the First Amendment of the Constitution gives him the right to document his sexual fantasies of a minor.
After a police investigation, the man in question was found to have been keeping a journal where he expressed sexually explicit thoughts about a friend's adolescent daughter, according to Courier Post.
The man also had written his sexually fantasies overtop photos of the girl he was in possession of. None of those photos, however, depicted the child sexually, only the suspect's sexual desires regarding the minor.
He had been charged with 16 counts of creating, distributing, and possessing 'child erotica', as well as possessing it with the intent to distribute because he reportedly expressed his thoughts with other on social media.
But the man, who remains unidentified, fought the charges and won. A 3-judge appellate court found that while the man's sexual fantasies were 'abhorrent', they were not illegal, Courier Post reports, and that the 'child erotica' portion of child endangerment/child pornography laws in New Jersey were 'overbroad' and 'prohibits protected speech'.
Essentially, the man's expression of his sexual fantasies is a matter of free speech, and the child he had photos of was not shown in a sex act or sexually suggestive poses.
Is the court taking the First Amendment too literally in this case? Are they doing enough to protect the minor in question?
While the court did reportedly acknowledge the potential “for reputational and emotional harm” to the young teen, the judges also ruled that investigating authorities found no evidence of the girl had been sexually abused by the suspect.
Their ruling also stated that a person has a right “to view obscene material in the privacy of one's home" and that a "state's attempt to thwart that right amounts to regulation of thought, which is plainly unconstitutional”.
*It is important to note that the accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.