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Archive for July 29th, 2010

Will Failed D.C. Porn Case Dampen Fed Prosecutors’ Zeal?

John Stagliano/facebook photo
John Stagliano/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — In courtroom 18 in the sterile D.C. federal courthouse, Justice Department prosecutors earlier this month tried nailing a major producer of adult pornography on obscenity charges.

The lawyers, part of the department’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, spent four days presenting their case against California porn producer John Stagliano (aka “Buttman”), who had been indicted in 2008, during the final year of the Bush administration. As part of their case, prosecutors even played pornographic videos with names like “Milk Nymph” for the jurors.

But before the defense could even present its side, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case, saying the government had failed to prove the most basic of issues: that the defendant and two related companies were linked to porno videos that the government claimed went beyond the acceptable community standards.

The judge also raised questions about core issues in the case.

“I hope the government will learn a lesson from its experience,” declared Leon, who voiced concerns about the issues of obscenity statute, the Internet, free speech and criminal rights, according to The Washington Post. “I hope that [higher] courts and Congress will give greater guidance to judges in whose courtrooms these cases will be tried.”

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OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

America’s Love Affair With Some Serial Bank Robbers

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

"Geezer Bandit"/fbi photo

By Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

On the ever-popular Facebook, words of support, encouragement and disbelief plaster a wall with 2,700-plus followers dedicated to the elderly, ever-elusive San Diego bank robber dubbed the “Geezer Bandit”.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this guy,” wrote one Facebook fan. “And he just became my personal hero.”

“Financial crisis in the US,” another admirer commented. “The old guy rips off banks. I would say totally understandable.”

Similarly, more than 93,000 Facebook users have joined one of the many pages dedicated to the nefarious activities of Colton Harris-Moore, aka the “Barefoot Bandit”, who was recently apprehended in the Bahamas.

The Geezer Bandit and the Barefoot Bandit are among the latest arrivals in a decades long phenomena — America’s selective love affair with serial bank robbers — an infatuation that took hold in the 1930s with such legends as Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Books have been written. Movies have been made.

“Fascination and hero-worship for undeserving criminals is a pathetic piece of our popular culture,” James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern recently wrote in a blog entry on boston.com. “All sorts of offenders, no matter how despicable their crimes, have been revered by a sizable minority of Americans.”

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Pres. Nominates 2 U.S. Attys and 2 Marshals

Scott Bowen/gov photo

Scott Bowen/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday nominated U.S. Attorneys for the Middle District of North Carolina and the Western District of Michigan along with Marshals for the Northern District of Georgia and the Central District of California.

For the U.S. Attorney post in Grand Rapids, Mi., the President nominated M. Scott Bowen, the Commissioner of the Michigan Lottery.

In North Carolina, he nominated Ripley Rand, a North Carolina Superior Court judge.

For the U.S. Marshal Post in Georgia, the President nominated Beverly Joyce Harvard, who works at the United States Transportation Security Administration as the Director of Transportation Security Coordination.

For the Marshal position in California, he nominated
David Mark Singer, Chief of Police for Whittier, Calif.

Obama Admin. Wants to Give FBI More Access to Email Data

internet-photoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI could be getting more powers when it comes to getting data on Internet activity.

Reporter Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post reports that the Obama administration wants to change a law so that it would allow the FBI to compel companies over individual’s records of their Internet activity without a court order.

Under the push, the FBI would not be able to get content of the email, the Post reported. But it would be able to get email addresses individuals are writing to; times and dates the e-mails were sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history.

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