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After several cases where district attorneys have pursued felony charges against teens accused of sending sexually explicit photos of themselves, the Pennsylvania General Assembly House of Representatives is proposing a bill that would make “sexting” by teens a second-degree misdemeanor.   The statute would amend the criminal code by adding 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6321.

The new statute would prohibit any minor over the age of 13 from sending any nude photos of him or herself electronically.  The statute adopts the definition of nudity set out it 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 5903.  In that section, nudity is defined as showing the “human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple, or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state.”

For more information, go to:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10025/1030881-454.stm

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2009&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=2189&pn=3051

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BriefLaw: Commonwealth v. Young

Published on 11 January 2010 by in Blog

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Commonwealth v. Gaylend L. Young 2010 PA Super 2 (1/06/2010)

Topic: Admissibility of  Evidence of Prior Crime When Defendant is Acquitted – Prior Bad Acts

Summary: Under Pa.R.E. 404, the Commonwealth may admit evidence of a previous crime as a prior bad act even where the defendant was acquitted in the prior trial (The evidence of prior crimes challenged in this case were confessions by the defendant).

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/S29009_09.pdf

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A Pittsburgh man was released from the Allegheny County Jail after he was held in custody for 14 months without being brought to trial.  The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office claims that a computer glitch caused the office to miss the speedy trial deadline.

For more information, go to:

http://kdka.com/local/Wilkinsburg.rape.suspect.2.1346655.html

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The Associated Press reports that it is possible for defendants to be wrongfully convicted of child pornography charges due to computer viruses.  The story notes that pedophiles and other malicious actors can use computer viruses to remotely store child pornography on a hacked computer.

For more information, go to:

http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20091108/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_a_virus_framed_me

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Commonwealth v. Daryl Boich 2009 PA Super 195 (10/06/2009)

Topic: Rape Charges – Sex Crime – Involuntary Psychiatric Evaluation of a Witness/Victim

Summary: A court may not compel a witness/victim to submit to an involuntary psychiatric evaluation unless the record shows a compelling need for the evaluation. Gaps in testimony, even if those gaps are attributed to the use of prescription drugs with alcohol, are an issue of credibility, not competence, and are therefore insufficient to justify an involuntary psychiatric evaluation.

*Note: Judge Klein’s dissenting opinion argues that where a judge is unable to determine whether a witness is competent due to an inability to interpret the evidence given, an involuntary psychiatric evaluation is justified.

http://www.aopc.org/OpPosting/Superior/out/e02004_08.pdf

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