Our legal system is a mess. Without a shred of logical congruency, America’s legal system is a wacky quagmire of differing penalties and contradictory laws.
The same country where all fifty states recognize driver’s licenses from the other states in the union is patched-together with a hodgepodge of different laws concerning the recognition of another state’s concealed carry permit.
The Southern states are disallowed from enforcing border security as it is considered an issue under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Still, the federal government refuses to enforce the laws of the nation.
The First Amendment provides for the freedom of religion. But try practicing your Christian faith, and see what happens…
Some laws are good in nature, but are being poorly implemented. While we can all agree that perverts and predatory deviants are unwelcome in society, today’s laws concerning sexual offenses can make little to no sense.
What is a “sex offender”? Certainly, for instance, a man who forces himself upon a woman is a sex offender. But what of an 18 year-old who has sex with his 17 year-old girlfriend? While many states allow for such a relationship, some do not. What is allowable in one state may brand a man for life as a sexual criminal in another and rob that man of any potential for gainful employment for the rest of his life.
Take, for example, the recent case of Cormega Copening, 17, and Brianna Denson, 16, two teenagers in a relationship. When they were both 16, they “sexted”- sent nude photos of themselves to each other on their phones.
Okay- it’s not the most-wholesome thing to do. However, now these kids are engulfed in a legal nightmare as they have both been charged with child pornography charges. They were charged as adults in February for sending “sexually explicit” photos of minors to each other’s cell phone.
However, these were not “children”; they were photos of themselves.
The duo faced felony convictions under the law in their state of North Carolina. If convicted, the two would not only face jail time, but also a lifetime of employers and neighbors discovering that they were peddlers of kiddie porn. That’s also assuming that neither of them got “shanked” in prison for being a sex offender.
In reality, their “crime” did not warrant being lumped-in with deviants.
The two were able to secure a plea bargain to escape jail time and the dreaded scarlet letter that is the sex offender registry. They pled it down to a misdemeanor offense and a year of probation.
Thankfully, this worked out (this time). Many will note that this was a fluke and not representative of the law that threatened them.
It’s true; this does not happen a lot. However, the fact that this can and has happened demands that we, as a society, examine what it means to be a sexual predator.
Some areas are clear. A man having sex with an 8-year-old is repugnant and an abhorrent scumbag by virtually everyone’s estimation. But because of this justifiable societal hatred, we must be careful who we label as this pervert’s equal.
Did Copening and Denson commit a crime? Technically, yes. If they had not found the legal escape hatch that they did, they would be labeled as a sex offender, an umbrella term that also harbors the aforementioned hypothetical pervert.
Is this right?
Like so many good ideas, the laws concerning sex crimes have become convoluted in a black-and-white paradigm that allows for no “gray area.”
That Copening and Denson escaped the legal system with only a misdemeanor charge does not mean the system worked; it means the system nearly crushed two innocent people with a lifetime of hell and, thankfully, they managed to escape Lady Justice’s swift and terrible vengeance.
No, we should not be loosening the laws to allow the perverts to roam free; we should, however, examine our classification system so that we may separate those who are truly disgusting animals from those who made a mistake.