Dardenne Prairie, Mo. (The Weekly Vice) - You're getting warmer. Warmer. Now you're HOT!
Across the country, an outraged public has begun the search for the law it thinks Missouri officials may have missed. Some even conclude that these officials failed to make any real effort.
While it's true that the legal code falls well short of adequately covering all aspects of Internet usage, it is also true that many laws have been updated to cover larger portions of it.
For example, the music industry has forced lawmakers to sharpen it's definitions of online music sharing. Laws like Jessica's law and Megan's law have created harsher sentences and public shaming of sexual predators.
The case of Megan Meier and her online stalker Lori Drew indeed crosses many different sections of the legal code. Harassment, child endangerment/welfare, exploitation to name just a few. So how could a case cross so many different paths, yet fail to elicit a charge in any one of these codes and statutes of law?
Why didn't a county or federal prosecutor pick the best match and at least file a charge? Every prosecutor knows that they will not win 100% of their cases. Many prosecutors gather the best possible evidence and get the matter in front of a Judge. The Vice points reminds readers that the St. Charles County Prosecutor's office claimed to not even be aware of the incident until the story broke in local newspapers.
Below is just one section of law in many that are beginning to surface as a possible direction prosecutors might have gone. It is only one small example in many that could have been considered, but has never been addressed.
These laws belong to the people of our country, not just lawyers. Take a look for yourself. Should laws such as this one been discounted so quickly? Why was a Judge or Jury never allowed to examine a law like this in relevance to Megan Meier's case? Share your own opinion.
The Communications Decency Act of 1996
The Telecommunications Policy Act of 1996,
This title may be cited as the 'Communications Decency Act of 1996'.
§ 223. Obscene or harassing telephone calls in the District of Columbia or in interstate or foreign communications
(a) Prohibited acts generally
(1) in interstate or foreign communications—
(A) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly—
any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person;
(B) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly—
any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the communication;
(C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications;
(D) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or
(2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under his control to be used for any activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for such activity,
shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.