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Miller Order Sexting

Miller Order Sexting - Case 3:09-cv-00540-JMM Document 16...

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA MARYJO MIILLER, individually : No. 3:09cv540 and on behalf of her minor daughter, : Marissa Miller, : (Judge Munley) JAMI DAY, individually and on behalf : of her minor daughter, : Grace Kelly, and : JANE DOE, individually and on : behalf of her minor daughter, Nancy : Doe, : Plaintiffs : : V. : : GEORGE SKUMANICK, JR., in his : official capacity as District Attorney : of Wyoming County, : Defendant : :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: MEMORANDUM Before the court is plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO). Having been briefed and a hearing having been held, the matter is ripe for disposition. Background At issue in this case is the practice of “sexting,” which has become popular among teenagers in recent years. (Complaint (Doc. 1) (hereinafter “Complt.”) at ¶ 7). According to the plaintiffs, this is “the practice of sending Case 3:09-cv-00540-JMM Document 16 Filed 03/30/2009 Page 1 of 29
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2 or posting sexually suggestive text messages and images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via cellular telephones or over the Internet.” (Id.). Typically, the subject takes a picture of him- or herself with a digital camera or cell phone camera, or asks someone else to take that picture. (Id. at ¶ 8). That picture is stored as a digitized image and then sent via the text-message or photo-send function on a cell phone, transmitted by computer through electronic mail, or posted to an internet website like Facebook or MySpace. (Id. ¶ 9). This practice is widespread among American teenagers; studies show approximately 20% of Americans age 13-19 have done it. (Id. ¶ 10). Images and Threatened Prosecutions In October 2008, Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania School District officials confiscated several students’ cell phones, examined them and discovered photographs of “scantily clad, semi-nude and nude teenage girls.” (Id. at ¶ 12). Many of these girls were enrolled in the district. (Id.). The School District reported that male students had been trading these images over their cell phones. (Id. at ¶ 13). The School District turned the phones over to Defendant Skumanick, the District Attorney of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. (Id.at ¶ 13). Skumanick began a criminal investigation. (Id.). In November 2008, Case 3:09-cv-00540-JMM Document 16 Filed 03/30/2009 Page 2 of 29
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3 Skumanick stated publically to local newspaper reporters and a district assembly at Tunkhannock High School that students who possess inappropriate images of minors could be prosecuted under Pennsylvania law for possessing or distributing child pornography, 18 P ENN .S TAT . § 6312, or criminal use of a communication facility, 18 P ENN . S TAT . § 7512. (Id. at ¶ 15). Skumanick pointed out that these charges were felonies that could result in long prison terms and would give even juveniles a permanent record. (Id. at ¶ 16). Defendant contends that if found guilty of these crimes, the three minor plaintiffs would probably be subject to registration as sex offenders under Pennsylvania’s Registration of Sexual Offenders Act (“Meghan’s Law), 42 P.S. ¶ 9791, for at least ten years and have their names and pictures
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  • Spring '09
  • Honeynet
  • Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, plaintiffs, Defendant Skumanick

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