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A New Jersey state Assemblyman named Neil Cohen, a democrat, was busted yesterday when child pornography images were found on his state-issued computer.

I was talking about this with a colleague today. My angle is, if there were images on his PC and they were his, he is a sleazy dirtbag of the worst order. My colleague's angle was a little different: he said that if there were images on the guy's PC and they were his, he is an unbelievably stupid idiot for putting himself at risk of being caught.

I found it slightly disturbing that my colleague's point of emphasis was the assemblyman's carelessness as opposed to his evil twistedness. I should note that he never disagreed with the assessment that the guy is a lowlife if he's guilty, but this is how the interchange began:

Him: "I tell ya, I'm glad I'm not Neil Cohen!"
Me: "Well, I'm glad I'm not one of the children in the images they found."
Him: "That's a good point too."
And it continued from there as described above.
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The way I see it, it's a matter of degrees. I don't think you disagree with the guy. You just happen to think that not only is he stupid, he's a sleaze.

I take a slightly different angle still. I'd have to see the images first before I even agreed with the state's assessment that they were pornographic.

What's the nature of the images and just how many of those images are we talking about?

At the very least, he's stupid.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Did anyone see the 60 minutes segment where a guy was sent to prison because child porn images were somehow interlaced behind other images and files that he downloaded on his computer. He didn't know he downloaded them and couldn't see them, but was convicted nevertheless because they were on his PC.


Eek

Possessing child porn is a "strict liability" offense. An element to prove in any criminal offense is the level of culpability. Intent is the highest, then recklessness, negligence, and strict liability. Under SL, you don't need to have any culpability at all; if you possess the porn, whether you mean to or not, you're guilty.

If I were this guy's lawyer, I probably would have considered attacking the legal meaning of "possession." Although mental culpability doesn't have to be proven as an element of a SL crime, I would think that possession has to involve the ability to access and use it, so the fact that he didn't know it was there and couldn't access it should have had some bearing on proving the "possession" element.

quote:
Originally from HonestBro:
The way I see it, it's a matter of degrees. I don't think you disagree with the guy. You just happen to think that not only is he stupid, he's a sleaze.

I take a slightly different angle still. I'd have to see the images first before I even agreed with the state's assessment that they were pornographic.
I actually hadn't even thought about his carelessness until this dude brought it up. He may have been stupid, but the point is, it was the farthest thing from my mind.

And as for your point about whether the images were pornographic, we assume they were for the purposes of this post.

Realistically, the element of doubt in this case isn't whether the images are pornographic, but whether someone may have planted them on his PC. Who puts kiddie porn on a network PC? But again, if he did, then stck
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
Did anyone see the 60 minutes segment where a guy was sent to prison because child porn images were somehow interlaced behind other images and files that he downloaded on his computer. He didn't know he downloaded them and couldn't see them, but was convicted nevertheless because they were on his PC.

Now that is scary. I am good about screening stuff that I download for viruses, worms, trojan programs, etc. But I don't think any of them would catch this. Image files like jpg, gif, or bmp have always been pretty safe in this regard. But what can you do about this.

Are you telling me that he had no overt pictures on his machine as well as no other behaviors that were problematic; e.g., chat rooms, e-mails, etc.
fro I agree with Vox. I would attach the definition of possession. Since the internet is a new entity/or has become part of daily living[over a couple of decades] in most household environments, there needs to be a redefined and upgraded version/description or new interpretation of what "possession" in the law means i.e. the govt must keep up with the spirit of the times. Old law is useless in new situations/way of living. And it takes soooo long to change laws and come up with adequate laws that fit new crimes...technology is moving fast....everybody need to be in step with it....otherwise we all can be guilty of something we don't even KNOW about. And the evidence used will probably be taken from the computer/phone/ipod...any electronical device....what then? What's sad. Kids know how to use the computer and other electrical devices better than some parents. And who's to say....how those images got on the guy's PC? If he's guilty, I think probably careless in not knowing the depths of his computer and the law surrounding it. fro
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quote:
Did anyone see the 60 minutes segment where a guy was sent to prison because child porn images were somehow interlaced behind other images and files that he downloaded on his computer. He didn't know he downloaded them and couldn't see them, but was convicted nevertheless because they were on his PC.


I'm thinking that the conviction, if not the investigation that led to the conviction, was based on more than there was more than just hidden pictures on his PC.
Bottom line is that if you are at work using a company or state government computer keep your personnel taste in websites to yourself at home on your own computer.

Whether or not he downloaded the images on purpose they still could get him for improper use of state owned property for using the computer for something other then "official business".
quote:
Originally posted by Kweli4Real:
quote:
Did anyone see the 60 minutes segment where a guy was sent to prison because child porn images were somehow interlaced behind other images and files that he downloaded on his computer. He didn't know he downloaded them and couldn't see them, but was convicted nevertheless because they were on his PC.

I'm thinking that the conviction, if not the investigation that led to the conviction, was based on more than there was more than just hidden pictures on his PC.


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I kinda agree with you, although is a lot I don't know about computers beyond just using and running most common programs. But when it comes to something like this, it would seem that the authorities assesed the totality of the situation; it must have been something else this guy had done or some other circumstanial evidence, or something.

But, as you see in a lot of stories, there are a lot of prosecutors out there that will retrospectively 'build' a case where there was not one until they chuggged and plugged one together.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I found it slightly disturbing that my colleague's point of emphasis was the assemblyman's carelessness as opposed to his evil twistedness.


I feel 'ya Vox. When I hear stories about some of the disgusting ish people pull at work... It's not the 'while at work' part that bothers me first, but I've noticed I'm usually alone in that sentiment.

I think we live in a society with a lot of 'evil twistedness', and many of us are just plain old desensitized...

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