Fla. Senate Passes CP Bill

Rhett Pardon

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s Senate today unanimously — 40-0 — passed a measure that redefines child pornography under state law.

Senate Bill 182 would redefine what constitutes child porn so it includes "any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct or such visual depiction that has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that a minor is engaging in sexual conduct."

The bill also bans those convicted on child pornography charges from viewing any pornography while on probation or community supervision.

The bill, pushed hard by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, a longtime foe of the production and distribution of any form of sexually explicit content, took life after two adult men were freed in separate appellate rulings after they had been convicted of child porn for pasting pictures of children's faces on pictures of adult bodies in sexually explicit poses.

Judd and state Sen. Kelli Stargel, who sponsored the bill, have been fighting ever since the appellate ruling to get a bill in place that would cover virtual material involving young-looking adults.

Adult industry attorney Lawrence Walters of Walters Law Group yesterday told XBIZ that the piece of legislation is problematic.

Today, after the Senate's vote, Walters elaborated further.

"Child pornography laws are an exception to the First Amendment based on the fact that they record actual abuse of a child. With virtual child pornography, no child is being sexually abused," he told XBIZ. "Therefore, the rationale for denying First Amendment protection fails when it comes to virtual images that do not depict a real human being.  

"The case of Ashcroft vs. FSC settled the law on this particular issue, so it is surprising that the state would attempt to introduce a bill that so clearly violates Supreme Court precedent. But like any issue that involves the concepts of children and sexuality, logic tends to be thrown out the window when analyzing the legal issues."

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