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Federal Appeals Court Says Sex Offender's Computer Ban Unfair

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the in-prison-or-out-should-be-the-rule dept.

Crime 478

crimeandpunishment writes "A federal appeals court says a 30-year computer restriction for a convicted sex offender was too stiff a punishment. The man, who was caught in an Internet sex sting, had been ordered not to own or even use a computer." The D.C. Circuit Court's opinion in the case against Mark Wayne Russell is available as a PDF; slightly longer coverage from the Courthouse News Service.

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Eh? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711534)

Why not just cut off his balls?

Re:Eh? (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711560)

Because it would be cruel and unusual punishment?

Re:Eh? (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711632)

Not to mention it's impossible to rectify a mistake or miscarriage of justice. (Which is most of the reason why I'm against the death penalty, though that's somewhat beside the point)

Re:Eh? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711900)

Not to mention it's impossible to rectify a mistake or miscarriage of justice.

I have to say, I've never understood this argument. I would regard the loss of my freedom as being as bad as the loss of my life. Are you really going to tell me that the state can repay someone who spent 30 years behind bars for a crime they didn't commit?

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711970)

No, but at least they can let them out. Corpses stay in the ground.

Re:Eh? (1, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711990)

I have to say, I've never understood this argument. I would regard the loss of my freedom as being as bad as the loss of my life. Are you really going to tell me that the state can repay someone who spent 30 years behind bars for a crime they didn't commit?

They will have a hell of a better chance doing that if you aren't a corpse.

And what do you mean you don't understand it? If it's that horrible for you just go punch the ms13 leader if you can't bear it. Frankly I'm one of the people who would rather fight for thirty years than go with such a nihilistic attitude. Better off dead? Spare us the melodrama.

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711648)

Very poor moderation fellow. Although cutting off the offenders testicles and even penis would not stop a true pedophile. They would just offend using objects. Two of my professors when I was going for my LPC had experience with working with juvenile and adult sex offenders. One was blunt and said there was no cure. The one who did mostly juvenile offenders would say they had some success, and that some clients left and did not re-offend within the 5 year window they followed up in. She never would say they could not be cured. But when I pressed her the last day of class (after the finals had been graded and recorded) and asked her if she would let her grandson hang out with one of the ones who did not re-offend, she snapped out "No!", before trying to backpedal and hem and haw. There is a cure for pedophilia, but most people are squeamish about it. That one uneducated, and country woman down in Tx knew what it was, and administered it quite well, except for missing with the first shot. The others all went right home though.

Re:Eh? (1)

Entropy98 (1340659) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711692)

There is a cure for pedophilia, but most people are squeamish about it. That one uneducated, and country woman down in Tx knew what it was, and administered it quite well, except for missing with the first shot. The others all went right home though.

So whats the cure?

the cure is (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711720)

death, obviously

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711784)

Most people look at things like homosexuality and pedophilia the completely wrong way. There is no cure because there are no symptoms. The results and causes are reversed. This person likes males/little boys/whatever because he is a homosexual/pedophile/whatever. Not: the person is a homosexual/pedophile/whatever because of X Y and Z.

Re:Eh? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711794)

Just because you reorder the words in a sentence, doesn't mean anything changed, the end result is the same.

Re:Eh? (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711868)

No the end results are not the same. Quite honestly being homosexual, or being a pedophile in the most pure sense (someone who likes underage kids) is just the same as a man preferring say, latina women or asian women. If someone likes beautiful women that doesn't mean that he will sleep with them, same thing with homosexuality and pedophilia. Just because someone is sexually attracted to something doesn't mean that they will actually have sex with them. Otherwise, we'd all have supermodel wives.

Re:Eh? (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711880)

I think what you meant to say is, attraction does not inherently lead people to rape the object of their attraction.

Re:Eh? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711912)

Quite honestly being homosexual, or being a pedophile in the most pure sense (someone who likes underage kids) is just the same as a man preferring say, latina women or asian women.

Personally I don't care what you like -- fantasize about having sex with kids to your hearts content. If you actually have sex with them though we should put a bullet in your head. Human beings are one of the few (the only?) species that can override our instincts/desires and exercise self-control. If your lack of self-control leads you to molest children then we owe you nothing more than a quick exit from this life.

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31712152)

Wow, you're tough. I bet you have a tattoo and everything!

Re:Eh? (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711984)

Except that supermodels are rare, have fully developed mental facilities, and have enough money to hire whatever security they need to protect themselves. Children don't. Pedophilia happens when pedophiles have access to children.

Re:Eh? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31712028)

i find the fact that you are comparing homosexuals to pedophiles to be disturbing.

Re:Eh? (2, Funny)

bsane (148894) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712214)

fully developed mental facilities

Apparently you've never seen the Tyra Banks show?

Re:Eh? (0, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712206)

Screwing latina or Asian women or even adult men doesn't cause aberrations in the mental processes needed for later in life. Screwing children screw them up and cause an alarmingly higher rate of the disease self perpetuating. Vaccination with lead and brass can cure this disease in our lifetime. Some symptoms of the disease even include sympathetic tendencies toward child fuckers and should be vaccinated immediately 6 or 7 times in rapid succession cranially.

Re:Eh? (0, Troll)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711994)

Most people look at things like homosexuality and pedophilia the completely wrong way.

Are you really comparing homosexuality to pedophilia?

Re:Eh? (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712056)

Other than the object of attraction, how are they different?

Re:Eh? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712202)

If you concede that heterosexuality is similarly comparable to pedophilia then I'll at least grant you're consistent.

I still won't agree with you, but you'll look like less of an ass.

Re:Eh? (1, Troll)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712102)

Yes.

What's your point? I made one about both for an analogy. You may not like the way the analogy connects the two because one's obviously very bad.

Re:Eh? (1, Flamebait)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711806)

There was a woman, several years ago who shot the man accused of molesting her son, while he was being tried, in the courtroom at that. If someone is a diagnosed pedophile, there is only one sure fired way to make sure they never do it again, a bullet through the head, or a more humane method if that is your preference. Note that I am speaking of pedophiles, not a 19 year old fucking a 16 year old. They would jerk off to childrens' clothing ads and try and watch TV shows with kids in them when I was incarcerated. They would cut out pictures of kids out of magazines and newspapers and make jerk off books by gluing the pictures inside of a magazine. We'd beat them down, the guards would beat them down, and they would not stop, could not stop more likely. They would go to a sex offenders program (I was a peer counselor in the substance abuse programs while incarcerated and they tried to train us to be "peer counselors" for that little experiment. I am proud to say none of us managed to make it through the training)and "graduate" get promoted to a lower level of custody, get paroled, and would be back in within a year. It is bad to say that the death penalty is the only way to stop them, but it is. They can no longer (no matter if it is nurture or nature)change their sexual orientation towards children than you can change your sexual orientation towards . And they exhibit a lack of control in acting out. If they did not, no one would ever know they were a pedophile. Unfortunately by the time they ID a juvenile pedophile, they have usually offended against at least 8 other children. And why yes, I have to learn about these things because I am currently doing my internship for the NCDOC to become a LCAS.

Re:Eh? (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711842)

tag problem should have read {They can no longer (no matter if it is nurture or nature)change their sexual orientation towards children than you can change your sexual orientation towards "insert your orientation here".}

Re:Eh? (1, Informative)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712142)

Well aren't you a precious little snowflake....

Beating people in prison for making picture books, sabotaging rehabilitation programs..... ...and you want to work in the criminal justice system. Fantastic.

Re:Eh? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712170)

Lead or lead and brass injections. 5-9 injections subcutaneously, placed properly and of sufficient dosage, ensure a cure.

Re:Eh? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712150)

I am all for the lead and brass vaccinations that cure child fuckers.
They aren't really humans so there's no real argument to preserve them.
Humans promote the healthy growth of children to adulthood.
If you have an argument sympathetic to child fuckers perhaps you need a vaccination as you really are one, active or suppressed.
We got your cure.

Re:Eh? (0, Flamebait)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711686)

No more cruel than permanently scarring someone's emotional/mental health.

Re:Eh? (5, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711742)

The criminal justice system is for justice, not revenge.

Re:Eh? (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711964)

But that's the latest trend, as exemplified by this story. Prisons is out of fashion so the justice system is coming up with new and crazy ideas. They may not understand what they're talking about, but when has that ever stopped them?

Re:Eh? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712100)

Putting him down like a horse with a broken leg would be acceptable.
Making a sport of deleting pedophiles and child molesters to help ensure the well being of our progeny would be a public service and fun.
You cannot prove that they are human, rather they are only similar to humans. Humans inherently, genetically promote the healthy growth of children to perpetuate the race. Sick ass child fuckers are a cancer and it would not be unconstitutional to hunt them for sport and fun.
Perhaps the judge is sympathetic to the molester because the judge is one as well. This should be investigated thoroughly and publicly.

Re:Eh? (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711866)

Why not just cut off his balls?

Then he'd walk funny when he said Mass.

Re:Eh? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711926)

Ouch. Well done ;)

Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711536)

Given the increasing amount of professions that require the use of a computer, it would make more sense to monitor.

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (3, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711552)

A lifelong suspension of driving privilege for somebody caught DUI makes more sense than this.

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711930)

Out of curiosity, why don't we do this? Your first DWI should be a mulligan -- but the second, third, forth and fifth ones? When I worked in the insurance business I saw DMV reports of people who had that many DWIs. Why the fuck are we putting them back on the road?

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (1)

Maeslin (1739760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712024)

Problem is that suspending someones license doesn't really prevent them from driving if they're really intent on it. However, seizing the car/truck/SUV/bus of a repeat DUI offender and destroying or reselling it through govt auctions would be a sufficiently strong financial penalty to make them really think about it. You can drive without a license but it is quite a bit harder without a vehicle. The idea also works if the car was borrowed as it'll pass the message that if you lend a car to someone who is drinking/drunk/unfit to drive, you're complicit. As for stolen cars, it's a different situation entirely.

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712030)

Why the fuck are we putting them back on the road?

Unfortunately they don't stop driving - or drinking & driving - just because they don't have a driver's license any more. They're just putting themselves back on the road.

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (1)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712216)

Most US states do already do this.

Re:Monitoring yes, complete ban in this age? No. (4, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711690)

Depends on the type of monitoring. I think it would be reasonable to prohibit the use of certain services and websites, but there's a lot of potential for abuse here especially once you get into spyware territory. We can't simply discard concerns about government intrusion and abuse of power just because the case involves sex offenders.

People organize their entire lives on computers, they're a virtual extension of your mind in many ways. If we get used to the idea that government can impose total monitoring on a computer because of some criminal punishment, what sort of other offenses will it end up being used for?

first post (0, Troll)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711538)

assuming he *is* guilty, he knows about "stiff punishments"... :P

Will hackers also be able to get computers back as (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711540)

Will hackers also be able to get computers back as well? as some of them have been banned as well.

Re:Will hackers also be able to get computers back (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711846)

Doubt it. A hacker's crime essentially requires the use of a computer. They couldn't commit it without one. A sex offender COULD potentially use a computer for nefarious ends, but his/her crime likely goes well beyond a computer. Big difference.

Oh, snap! (-1, Offtopic)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711542)

First he's convicted for being stiff by using a computer to try to get a 13 year-old girl - and now the appeals court got stiff with the lower court and said, "That's stiff, give him his computer back."

Gee - it's a stiff fucking mystery what could possibly come next in this drama.

too stiff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711550)

Yikes, even TFA says "too stiff", not just the summary.

Hmm... (5, Insightful)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711554)

As much as I want to see guilty people get punished, things like this that are a de facto sort of life sentence (even after release from jail) don't make sense either.

Re:Hmm... (2, Insightful)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711592)

Agreed. Do people who commit mail fraud get banned from using the postal service?
As terrible as the crime is, this was WAY too overzealous.
This needs a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense tag.

Re:Hmm... (5, Interesting)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711598)

I have a friend who went to prison for armed robbery and a 2cd degree sex offense. He made the agent at an insurance company give him the cash, then had her go into the bathroom, disrobe and throw her clothes outside the bathroom door. He did not look, touch or molest her in anyway. They sentenced him to 14 years, which he did 6.5 years and got out. He has been on the sexual offenders list now for over 8 years, and has another 12 to go before he can even petition to be taken off. He is not allowed to pick or drop his son or daughter off at daycare, or school. Not allowed to attend school functions. Can't watch his son play t-ball. And can't get a decent job that does not involve backbreaking labor, when he has the educational credits to graduate and get a CPA if he went back to college for 2 semesters. Oops, can't go to college because all the ones around here have daycare centers on campus, which means he is not allowed on school grounds. Makes me glad I just robbed, stole and shot people, along with slinging drugs, guns and explosives. Because once I got off federal and state parole, I can go anywhere and do anything just about. And what I can not do is because of peoples' attitudes, not statutorily defined.

Re:Hmm... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711916)

I bet he wishes he hadn't done that now, huh?

Re:Hmm... (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712002)

CPAs aren't so hard to find that I can't go out and find one with no felony conviction record.

Re:Hmm... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31712032)

If it was my wife he did this to, I would be happy if he was sentenced to life in prison, or shot. Fucking criminal bastard. I hope he rots in hell. People like him deserve no mercy.

That said, the sex offender list is idiotic and pointless. I mean, teens sexting nude pictures of themselves get put on that list. Take it to its natural limit. Either throw the pervert in jail, or let him be. Bastards can't have it both ways.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31712062)

So he had a crappy lawyer and an overzealous prosecutor? If that's all he did, sex offender punishment seems a little over the top.

Re:Hmm... (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711802)

Hey, heres an idea ... don't commit crimes that result in life long punishment and you won't get a life long punishment.

Its not hard really.

Re:Hmm... (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711892)

Here's an idea, don't sentence 17 year olds to adult prison sentences that follow them the rest of their lives. I was 17, strung out on Dilaudids and crank, and committed a shitload of crimes that ended up with me having a 37 year state sentence and a 21 year federal sentence run concurrent with the state time. Which I served 15 years of in prison and another 5 on parole. Luckily I was not from a poor family or I would have been really screwed by the system. As it was, I took the time to better myself, get an education and learn a trade. Then upon my release I went to work, thanks to a fellow who did not hold it against me, started my own business and then after 10 years, went back to school. So now I still own my business, an HVAC/R company and am in my final semester of school. I should graduate in May with a MA in Social Work, and have the required number of supervised clinical hours in order to become a LCAS, since the board approved my over 5000 hours as a peer for the DOC while incarcerated as legitimate hours under supervision. Oh, yeah, one thing I learned in prison was this little saying, "Fuck You!"

Re:Hmm... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712064)

I was 17 ... ended up with me having a 37 year state sentence and a 21 year federal sentence run concurrent with the state time. Which I served 15 years of in prison and another 5 on parole.

Welcome back. Even though I have very little tolerance for those who commit crimes I am always supportive of those who better themselves. I'm glad to hear that things have worked out for you.

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711952)

As much as I want to see guilty people get punished

I agree and all, and I know I'll get flamed for this, but the guy was found guilty of trying to meet a 13 year old for consensual sex. I realize 13 is young, but he's not an inherent danger to society like say, someone who committed a few armed robberies. Seriously... if he succeeded with an actual 13 year old, it would hardly be some kind of shocking tragedy. And even though I agree with the law and that 13 is too young, the "punishment" for these kinds of crimes could be some counseling.

The idea that we've got federal agents working to find these people and expose them is kind of pathetic. Who is safer? If your 13 year old is open to the possibility of sex, they will probably find a way to do it, and someone to do it with.

Standard disclaimer: I agree that what the guy did was wrong, I just consider him as much of a danger to society as someone who litters.

Re:Hmm... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712006)

YOU'RE NOT THINKING OF THE CHILDREN!

Guards! Arrest this swine! Send him to "reeducation!"

Re:Hmm... (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712098)

If your 13 year old is open to the possibility of sex, they will probably find a way to do it, and someone to do it with.

This isn't boy and girl meeting for milkshakes at the mall: An adult would clearly have influence and power over a 13 year old in this relationship. There's also a big difference between a 13 year old curious about sex, and a 13 year old being manipulated by an adult to have sex. By trying to meet for sex, he's long crossed the boundary of contemplation and into attempted molestation. I'm sure he claimed that it was his first time and boy did he learn his lesson.

i'm not sure i can simply equate contacting a child for sex with littering.

Re:Hmm... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712104)

Here is the problem - some pedophiles (or perhaps more nicely put "underage sex enthusiasts") have no problem with rather forcibly non-consensual sex often ending with murdering the "witness". Others have no interest in this and would be soely interested in apparently consensual sex. I say apparently because the people in question are considered incapable of consent.

I don't have much information on the "crossover" between the two groups, but I am pretty sure that it happens. So how do you tell the difference between someone that just wants to fuck a 13 year old and someone that has no problem with fucking and then murdering the 13 year old? Don't know. I don't think anyone has this answer.

Consider also that such underage sex enthusiasts have pretty much a 100% recidivism rate. So they are virtually assured of re-offending. Who wants to be the one telling the parent that not only did this guy re-offend but that this time he killed his sex partner. All of which was a known possibility. I believe cities have already been sued and lost because of things like this.

Restraint of trade? (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711556)

Are computers now so ubiquitous, and potentially so broadly defined, that they're a necessity? Is an Android phone a computer? What about your Tivo? Is banning someone from a computer restraint of trade these days?

Re:Restraint of trade? (5, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711576)

Personally, I would think that the answer to all of those questions is yes. I have no qualms with him being punished, but I think that this sort of ban is stupid... they might as well just throw him in jail.

Re:Restraint of trade? (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711810)

That would be awesome. Pedos tend to have short life spans behind bars. Even most murders have some sense of protecting children.

So I agree, put him in jail instead. Problem solved.

Re:Restraint of trade? (2, Interesting)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711920)

Eh, not true anymore in most places. Used to be they were targets if not in PC. And if you beat one down, no harm no foul. But by the end of my bid, if you touched one, the administration would have you charged in street court. And they tended to house the chesters with people who were getting out, not the lifers with nothing to lose.

Re:Restraint of trade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711978)

Pedos tend to have short life spans behind bars. Even most murders have some sense of protecting children.

Just like prisoners ass raping a cell-mate. It's all about prisoners having "some sense of [justice]". It has absolutely nothing to do with, oh, the person being a criminal who obvious either didn't control himself or thought they could get away with the crime. But, I guess so long as you believe that your jailer will look the other way, any violation of another prisoner is a-okay.

Re:Restraint of trade? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711614)

Is an Android phone a computer?

You can run arbitrary apps on it, so yes it is.

What about your Tivo?

Hard drive/permanent storage device, interprets input data (TV signals, EPG, etc) - I'd say yes, it's a single-purpose computer.

Is banning someone from a computer restraint of trade these days?

I wouldn't say it's a restraint of trade - though depending on how you define computer ("an electronic machine which is used for storing, organizing and finding words, numbers and pictures, for doing calculations and for controlling other machines" according to the CALD [cambridge.org] ) anything from a phone to a cash register (or even an ATM) might qualify.

Even if the ruling was actually specifically about "personal computers", that still potentially includes smartphones, PDAs, etc.

Re:Restraint of trade? (3, Insightful)

GiMP (10923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711722)

What is scary for those convicted of such crimes is that computing devices are so ubiquitous that they're being integrated into common devices such as phones and televisions. An increasing number of televisions and content provider set-top boxes allow apps for access to twitter, facebook, instant messengers, etc.

Furthermore, essential services which used to be "offline" are now, effectively, online. Landlines and television are now provided to millions over IP. For those banned from computers and internet, I imagine the growth of technology will make it impossible for them to comply with their restrictions, either forcing a change of law and/or sentencing, or shoving these people back into jail due to inescapable consequences of the moving technology landscape.

The obvious parallel (5, Insightful)

Myji Humoz (1535565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711572)

Pedophiles who contact their victims over phone aren't banned from ever using a phone, yet apparently some judge thought it would be a good idea to prevent a system engineer of 10 years (from the article) from using a computer. A three judge panel concluded that "it is often necessary to use a computer to apply for a job, including at McDonald's and PETCO."

Why the heck do we have judges who are so out of touch with reality making these sorts of mistakes? If the guy can't use a computer and really wanted to meet kids online, what's to stop him from getting an iPhone or a Blackberry? Justice isn't about revenge, it's about upholding the law and meting out punishment and forcing rehabilitation onto perpetrators. Along the way it became about taking someone off the streets for a time while teaching them the best way to commit crimes and not get called. (It's called jail). And now, we've moved onto some judges literally telling criminals that even when they're not in jail, they can't be a part of modern society at all? [sarcasm] That'll work really well to keep pedos from kids [/sarcasm]

No such thing as "strict" (0, Flamebait)

suman28 (558822) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711608)

Sex offenders should be locked up permanently or executed. End of story. There is no "strict" punishment for anyone that brings harm to kids. Won't someone please think of the children?

Re:No such thing as "strict" (1, Flamebait)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712038)

Sir, please come with me.

Our records indicate you spend an unacceptably disproportionate amount of time thinking of the children. You have automatically been flagged as a sex offender, and as such are subject to permanent imprisonment or execution.

Now, before you panic, we realize you didn't harm anyone. Execution is unlikely. See? Nothing to be afraid of. Now, please be a dear and follow these nice guards out to the van. I'll see to it your family is notified.

Contradictory rulings (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711612)

I'm pretty sure that there was some ruling in a lesser court that basically said that the internet is a right, not a privilege. At least, that's what the language was alluding too, and even talking in the media that way. But of course when you commit a crime you loose all your rights, right? Nope, you serve time and then get them back either fully or under some form of monitoring, such as having to check in with a parole officer or participating in group sessions. we always seem to want to especially crucify pedophiles when all they really are is another form of criminal. They don't even get a decent break in jail for crying out loud.

Simple. (5, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711652)

Unlike receiving a DUI conviction and losing your license, while you are at the helm of your computer you do not risk careening into the other lane and killing a bus full of people. The computer is just a utility, not the vector.

The computer doesn't do the molesting, molester's do the molesting. The computer is one utility of many. If we start piecemeal restricting people from the things that could be used to aid in causing harm, what will we have left? Typical America, treating the symptoms, not the problems.

Props to the appeals court for finally realizing this stupidity.

Re:Simple. (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711922)

Unlike receiving a DUI conviction and losing your license, while you are at the helm of your computer you do not risk careening into the other lane and killing a bus full of people. The computer is just a utility, not the vector. The computer doesn't do the molesting, molester's do the molesting. The computer is one utility of many. If we start piecemeal restricting people from the things that could be used to aid in causing harm, what will we have left? Typical America, treating the symptoms, not the problems. Props to the appeals court for finally realizing this stupidity.

Agreed. Though the real props are that the court said that restricting use of a computer totally was unjustified - not that he should be allowed to be online. The proper thing is for the lower court to modify the sentence and say that he can't have access to the internet via a computer. Of course, that still leaves open the definition of what constitutes a computer that others have mentioned.

Re:Simple. (0, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711924)

The computer is just a utility,

So is a car ... and a gun.

The computer doesn't do the molesting, molester's do the molesting

The computer facilitates him being able to contact those that do the molestation. It allows him to purchase/steal/whatever kiddie porn. By preventing him from using a computer, you prevent him from participating in that. That lowers the appeal to anyone trying to sell it, even if its just a little.

And according to the courts previous judgement, he did break the law with his computer. He is KNOWN (just like in a DUI case or a murder with a gun) to break the law and do extremely unacceptable things using a computer. It blows my mind that you somehow think computers are different.

If we start piecemeal restricting people from the things that could be used to aid in causing harm, what will we have left?

I am not restricted. I will not be restricted. I own and use both a car and several computers every day, I also occasionally take my gun to the firing range to blow off some steam. Do you have the slightest clue WHY I'm allowed to do all this?

I have not downloaded kiddie porn.
I have not killed someone with a gun.
I have not killed someone with my car.

So until such time as I break the law and do something extremely bad with one of those items, I won't be restricted, but once I do the story changes. You know how you don't get restricted? DON'T do something wrong. If you don't think any of those things are wrong well ... thats an issue in and of itself that you need to get addressed I think ... but assuming you are sane ... oh never mind, if you were sane I wouldn't be responding.

Typical America, treating the symptoms, not the problems.

Typical moron, instead of accepting that we don't have a perfect solution, you say just stop ... brilliant idea. We're not perfect so lets not do anything. Fortunately the rest of the world doesn't agree with that sort of ignorance. Think about what you're saying and apply it to anything else, computers even ... 'we don't have the perfect solution, so lets just not use computers' ... does that make you realize how dumb your statement sounds?

Whats next, we give the DC sniper and son their guns back because after all, the guns don't kill people so they certainly should be able to own a gun ...

Re:Simple. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712058)

I especially love the pattern of:
crime + computer = DOUBLE PLUS UN-GOOD CRIME

I mean, come on. Use the laws, precedents, and sentencing guidelines we already have. I just don't get why (aside from financial crimes) computers make judges and lawyers froth at the mouth.

(financial crimes - yea - you can effect a VERY LARGE amount of people. but still, even in these cases... a bit extreme)

Further proof (1, Funny)

Inquisitor13 (253168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711668)

That guys whose middle name is Wayne are evil.

examples: John Wayne Gacy, Osama Wayne Bin Laden, O.J. Wayne Simpson, the list goes on.

Well, no shit. Phones are computers... (2, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711674)

OK, no computers? So, No iphone? No Crackberry? No emergency transpoder in his car? No calculator? No video camera? No Digital Audio Converter? WTF?

Re:Well, no shit. Phones are computers... (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711746)

Forget the emergency transponder, just plain no Car(it has computers in it). Or using an ATM, or an automatic ticket kiosk (for say mass transit system). Computers are everywhere. His credit cards may even violate that restriction. A very good ruling IMO.

Re:Well, no shit. Phones are computers... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711890)

Forget the emergency transponder, just plain no Car(it has computers in it). Or using an ATM, or an automatic ticket kiosk (for say mass transit system). Computers are everywhere. His credit cards may even violate that restriction.

Facilities department where I used to work would keep track of the systems we used. They could count PCs and VT240 terminals (because the 240 had a separate base unit) but for them a VT220 was a "monitor" and not counted. They ignored VAX and Alpha servers and such like.

Even if this guy gets caught out using an iPhone, he could probably get away with buying an ARM development kit under the heading of "electronics".

My wife calls her LCD monitor an "computer" and gets confused about why autocad won't run on it when she flips the video input from a windows desktop to the macbook

I hope, one good thing will come out of this. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711744)

It should be possible to redirect all this the anger and popular hatred from pedophiles to sociopaths, and eventually ban them from positions of power as a far greater danger to other people than pedophiles. I don't care how "oppressive" or "undemocratic" the government will have to become to achieve this -- it will be still far superior to the current condition when positions of control, be it in government, business religious organizations, media or organized crime, inevitably end up being occupied by them.

Re:I hope, one good thing will come out of this. (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711928)

It should be possible to redirect all this the anger and popular hatred from pedophiles to sociopaths

Sociopaths perform important functions in modern organisations. I don't like it anymore than you do but if the ship is going down somebody has to decide who gets a seat on a lifeboat.

You're an idiot. (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712018)

Assuming you aren't just woefully misinformed on the definition of "sociopath", as most people apparently are...

If you think it's even possible to have a society that requires shared, collective resources and people in positions of power in order to manage them, and then to somehow collectively vet and judge those leaders in order to weed out the "sociopaths" before they reach positions of authority, then you don't actually live in reality. The fact that you suggest oppressive and undemocratic government as a means to this end is just downright hilarious.

Let's keep this in context (0, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711756)

The guy set out to methodically groom what he thought was a 13 year old girl for sex. If you think a 30 year computer ban is too harsh, then fine, let's just throw him back in jail instead. Happy now?

Re:Let's keep this in context (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711824)

Yes.

Re:Let's keep this in context (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711840)

Look, computers can not, and will not molest anyone. Heck, you can't even violate someone using -only- a computer. You can't commit rape over a computer or molest someone over a computer.

Part of having a free society is once you have paid your debt via restitution you should be free.

If he was really that much of a danger to society he should be in jail. But seeing as he didn't actually -do- anything, I don't see the point of him being in jail.

Re:Let's keep this in context (2, Funny)

choongiri (840652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712166)

You can't commit rape over a computer or molest someone over a computer.

You never did click on that link Anonymous Coward posted, did you?

Re:Let's keep this in context (1, Funny)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712194)

"Look, computers can not, and will not molest anyone. Heck, you can't even violate someone using -only- a computer. You can't commit rape over a computer or molest someone over a computer."

You haven't used Vista have you?

Re:Let's keep this in context (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711956)

The guy set out to methodically groom what he thought was a 13 year old girl for sex. If you think a 30 year computer ban is too harsh, then fine, let's just throw him back in jail instead. Happy now?

The key word here is thought. Since when did we start prosecuting people for thought crimes? And precisely who is the victim here (other than the defendant, and possibly the taxpayer)?

Re:Let's keep this in context (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712022)

Problem is, we're doing a really bad job separating the folks that "just want to have fun" with the folks that want to rape and murder children. Sometimes there is "crossover" where someone that apparently just wanted to have fun turns around and kills their next conquest.

Since when did we start prosecuting people for thought crimes?

Since it became unconfortable telling parents that their child was killed by someone that it was known would re-offend since very nearly 100% do so.

The alternative would be just keeping them all in jail or killing them. Both are pretty expensive - the cheap solution is to find a way to make sure they can't re-offend, or if they start to display offending behavior that their parole is violated. Not anywhere near as certain as keeping them in prison or killing them, but much much cheaper.

What about cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31711778)

What about cars?

Your modern car probably has the equivalent processing power of a 486 in it.

I predict we see a surge in the buyers market for Model T's.

Common sense (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711860)

The verdict seems like one step towards common sense. Releasing artificially "impaired" individuals into society fails to promote the general welfare. If he can't use a computer, that causes more problems than it solves for the rest of us.

A bigger step towards common sense would be not releasing, true, hardcore sex offendors back into the general population. "Life in prison" should mean LIFE IN PRISON, for say, a violent rapist.

The final step towards common sense would be decriminilizing the mere posession of certain pornography. As it stands, it's way too easy to frame somebody for mere posession, and you don't get to the actual source of the problem that way.

I'm not holding my breath on real common sense when it comes to this part of the law. ZOMG! Children! Quick, burn stuff and behave irrationally and against your own best interest!!! If you don't you must be a witch^H^H^H^H^H pedo yourself.

Your Fat. Court ordered Ban on Fork use. (2, Interesting)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711864)

If you beat someone up with a bat, wouldnt it be silly if a court ordered you to stay away from baseball games, sporting good stores, and ban you from every owning a bat again?

Re:Your Fat. Court ordered Ban on Fork use. (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712000)

Why not? They do it with guns.

Re:Your Fat. Court ordered Ban on Fork use. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712034)

Single Payer universal health care and Guns rule!

Re:Your Fat. Court ordered Ban on Fork use. (1)

digitalnoise615 (1145903) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712026)

If you beat someone up with a bat, wouldnt it be silly if a court ordered you to stay away from baseball games, sporting good stores, and ban you from every owning a bat again?

In America? Yes!

Unfair?! (0, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711942)

The guy tried to turn a 13 year old girl into his personal whore and banning in from using the computer is 'unfair' ...

WHAT

THE

FUCK

is wrong with this world?

Unfair would be cutting his balls off and raping him with a broom handle until he could taste splinters only to find out that he didn't do it.

There is nothing 'unfair' you can do to him. Nothing.

What if it was your daughter? Your wife? Your son? You'd still think it was 'unfair' to ban him from a computer? Seriously?

Re:Unfair?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31712008)

lol u mad?

Re:Unfair?! (1, Flamebait)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712110)

Yes.

You see, I believe in fair and proportional punishment. I also believe in not crippling someone's involement in society when they are released back into it. If he hasn't paid his dues, then why the fuck is he out of jail?

Put him in jail, put him in a mental facility, put him on parole... whatever you need to do THAT FITS THE SYSTEM (and doesn't go into the "crime + computer = OMG WTF KILL HIM" pattern)

Re:Unfair?! (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 4 years ago | (#31712140)

I think counterproductive is probably a better way to describe it than unfair. If you expect someone to be released from jail and become somehow productive again, you can't really deprive them of the use of a computer these days. It may make sense for some sort of usage restriction, like you can only use the computer access at some sort of kiosk or supervised area or at work, but you can't own one or you can't have internet access or something like that.

However, a complete ban on usage of computers these days is like banning him from using a phone or the mail. Otherwise you might as well hand him an address for a homeless shelter and instructions on how to pick up his welfare checks, because he's going to be entirely useless to anyone from then on. I think the only thing worse than releasing a predator back into the community is having to pay taxes to keep said pedophile alive while he could be working for a living (and paying his own taxes).

So what do we do with these people? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711988)

First off, there is the pretty much proven idea that people that find children as acceptable sex partners (willingly or unwillingly) aren't going to change. Period. Nothing that we know of today will change this.

The current thinking seems to be that if a child is an acceptable sex partner and they are incapable of providing informed consent that there is no difference between someone that "seduces" a child and one that conks the child over the head, drags them into the bushes and rapes them. Probably kills the child immediately afterword. Whether or not that is true or not doesn't seem to be up for debate right now - it is just assumed as an established fact. This does have some grounding in reality.

The problem with child porn is pretty clear. If it makes children appear as a valid sex partners, well then, they are valid sex partners. Then the above paragraph comes into play - there are no "willing" child sex partners so every act is rape and every rape is violent, potentially leading to murder as well.

The conclusion is that anyone finding children are attractive as sex partners is one small step away from killing the next child they see. This is probably a bit far fetched, but is certainly where current thinking is today, especially in the legal system in a lot of countries.

So what exactly does one do with someone that has been convicted of finding a child an acceptable sex partner? Obviously, they are just one small step away from raping and killing children. While perhaps not a 100% valid conclusion, you can see where the thinking is on this and it is pretty tough to escape the logical progression.

At some point in the future there may be a way to tell the difference between someone that has no problem having sex with a consenting 16-year-old girl and someone that is all set to rape and murder. We aren't there yet. Right now, keeping these people in prison for eternity isn't a realistic solution in most Western countries - why should they be kept at State expense? Releasing them with restrictions on movement, contact with children and other things seems to be pretty logical. Restrictions on using a computer (or at least use of the Internet) seems to make some sense - again, based on the idea that anyone finding a child as an acceptable sex partner is one small step away from raping and murdering children.

The problem with the usual law enforcement methodolgy (you know, commit the crime, do the time, repeat as needed) is the whole part about it being (a) predicable that these people will re-offend and (b) having to tell the parent of the dead child that it was known about. People are pretty sensitive about that - I guess it has to do with the cost of raising a child these days. You know, all that money for nothing when the kid is murdered.

The main problem would seem to be separating the "murdering, raping" offenders from the "teen sex" offenders. We are't doing a good job of that today and there doesn't seem to be a good reliable test for it. And nobody, but nobody, wants to be the one telling the parent that the convicted child sex enthusiast just killed their child.

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