Member Rara Avis
LR, there's a reason the criminal justice system grants the accused the right to confront their accusers. Maybe your insider is genuinely concerned and wants to correct a bad situation. Maybe he's just seeking attention or has an axe to grind. Sadly, the latter is more frequent than the former, and when the accusations are made only behind closed doors, there's absolutely no way to judge. Secrecy is anathema to justice.
Thanks for the links. Dalton's conviction for "pandering obscenity involving a minor" really raises a TON of issues, most seemingly still unresolved. He didn't contest the charges, so the law still hasn't been adequately tested. But let's assume it withstands all tests and look at the two main issues involved.
First, unlike previous statutes, this one doesn't specifically target "viewable" material and, as Will's column noted, Dalton is believed to be the first person convicted for child obscenity involving writings rather than photographs, films, or other images. On the one hand, as writers, I'm sure we'll all agree that words can be as powerful as images (or much more so). But, on the other hand, unlike pictures of real children, no minors were harmed in the creation of Dalton's work. And that, to me, is a very BIG issue. The courts, however, make a convincing argument that the nature of the child pornography warrants a legal attack at all levels in the distribution chain, which certainly should include creation. And if it's true that, "Evidence suggests that pedophiles use child pornography to seduce other children…" then I think I am convinced in the validity of attacking written material centering on illicit activities involving children.
The second big issue, and I think the one that seems to concern you the most, is the matter of privacy. Dalton's journal, containing his privately recorded thoughts, was seized and used to the throw him in jail. If true, I can understand both your concern and your Orwellian references.
But I question its truth. It's a bit of an unusual situation in that the issue of illegal search and seizure can't be raised. As a convicted felon on parole, Dalton had agreed to impromptu searches as a condition for his release. More importantly, to me, calling fourteen pages a journal sounds like little more than a desperate attempt at justification. Dalton said the lurid story was his journal and not intended for distribution. Should we believe him? I don't think the prosecutors did and I strongly suspect that is why the case was pursued. Since Dalton didn't contest the charges or conviction, we'll really never know. And until a less tainted case comes to trail, we won't know if privacy and personal use can be used as defenses against this law.