Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Arrest of Greaves stimulates comparison to COPA issues; CNN relentless in covering it

On Dec. 20, the media started reporting on the arrest of Phillip Greaves II for his infamous Kindle book, rather a “tract”, on Amazon.

The Polk County, FL sherrif’s department apparently set up a “sting” to buy the book and then sent deputies to Colorado to arrest him for obscenity. I’m not sure how the legal extradition worked, but I thought this was harder and required US Marshalls. It’s disturbing that one could be arrested from another state by state authorities without being in the state. The same situation would occur with charges for alleged crimes committed through the Internet.

The Sheriff was clever in calling the tract a “Manifesto”, a word that has taken on a negative connotation, to be sure. (Some people call my first book “The Manifesto”). But it is more like a tract, according to Anderson Cooper.

Sanjay Gupta’s report Tuesday follows:

There would be a question as to whether the lack of images is relevant. But apparently text alone can be obscene (not the case with c.p. in the United States, although the case overseas generally).

I usually don’t put two videos from the same place in one posting, but I think visitors might want to hear reporter’s questions of Greaves. He denies acting on “fantasies” but says fantasy is important, and says that what he describes typically happens in many families. He says he is too poor to make bail.

CNN has really taken this issue as far as possible, with Sanjay Gupta joining Anderson Cooper in the “professional outrage” (as opposed to “recreational outrage”).

Remember, COPA was about the concept of “obscene with respect to minors”. In the Greaves case, the charge is “simple” obscenity, however. The charge might not have been possible under earlier rulings that had been made against COPA (back in 2002).

As a purely legal matter, it sounds as if the State of Florida will have to overcome tremendous First Amendment hurdles to obtain and sustain a conviction.

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