Last week, we began a discussion about how children can end up listed on sex offender registries. Plenty of these cases involve actions that most would say are not sex crimes - sexting, consensual sex between minors, etc.
Most crimes come with a standard punishment for offenders who are convicted. You serve that sentence, handle any related matters (fines and parole) and then return to life as a member of the general public - at least that's how it works in theory.
Nowadays, teenagers are glued to their phones. They are both a status symbol as well as a way to communicate and take in the world around them. Most people assume teens are performing innocuous activities like checking their friends' Facebook statuses or retweeting something a celebrity said on Twitter. Unfortunately, while this might be true in a majority of cases, it may not be the case in all situations.
It has long been a crime to take a picture of people under their clothes without their knowledge or consent in Wisconsin, sometimes known as "upskirting." Under a somewhat strange twist in state law, however, the person taking the photo could only be prosecuted under felony charges if the person photographed was captured nude.
In recent posts, we have discussed numerous important issues in the criminal justice system. These include sex crimes legislation, juvenile crime, children being charged as adults and the problems that can arise when statutes are written too broadly. These problems can be seen here in Wisconsin and around the country.
Like all other states, Wisconsin has detailed laws that place both requirements and restrictions on convicted sex offenders. In addition to requiring them to register publicly as offenders, state legislators have passed restrictions on where offenders can live and what kinds of jobs they can and cannot have.
There's little debate about the fact that sex crimes are among the most reviled and taboo offenses a person can be accused of. In the court of public opinion, particular sex crimes are sometimes regarded as more heinous than murder. Unfortunately, this public hysteria too often makes it difficult to have the tough-but-necessary conversations about sex crimes - especially cases where the accused individual's guilt isn't necessarily clear.
Many of the “well-known” Halloween dangers are, in fact, urban legends. Despite fears that certain houses pass out poisoned candy or treats with razor blades hidden inside, there seems to be no evidence backing up those oft-repeated rumors.
Which is more important: Preventing crime or punishing those who commit it after the fact? Most of us would say that crime prevention is more important and a far more valuable use of law enforcement resources. Yet with certain sex crimes, laws and public attitudes make prevention practically impossible.
There are aspects of human behavior and human thought considered so morally reprehensible that most people are unable to even discuss them objectively. High on the list of taboo topics is pedophilia. While it is rarely discussed, it is heavily prosecuted if acted upon. Individuals charged with child sex crimes face harsh criminal punishments and public condemnation.