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Scrotos
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:40 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
CScottG wrote:
-the complaint might be based on previous admittance during the sting: i.e. "talk of having done so before" - presumably with details that they have/are verifying, though with enough detail to take to a Grand Jury (and that are within the Statute of Limitations). Of course it could just be an "end-run" to revoke his Green Card and deport his sorry @ss (.."criminal activity", NOT convicted criminal activity).


I see.

Hmm, I gave the document one more read over. Regardless of the technicalities in the wording of the law, #5 makes it clear that they were meeting for the solicited activity and arrested immediately. So he's guilty of... something... I'm no lawyer. But rereading paragraph #5 completely wipes away all doubt in my mind for this case. I just want to make sure this wasn't a case of entrapment. With #5 sitting there, it is clear that Peter Bright intended to commit the activities.

For everyone else's info: the document is organized into 6 paragraphs (numberd 1 through 6).

1. The charge
2. Background on the FBI Agent (4 years of experience)
3. Dirty details / Evidence (3 pages long). This is the disgusting stuff you'll probably want to avoid.
4. Phone records evidence
5. Arrest details (date, etc. etc.)
6. Miranda rights / Post-arrest stuff


“Because this evidence is being submitted to establish the basis for a case, not all facts learned are detailed here” or something to that effect.

So there is more that is not yet public. We can only guess what would apply to the cited statutes/laws.
 
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:43 am

Ryu Connor wrote:
As an aside, I find it distasteful that ArsTechnica hasn't reported on this. They were more than happy to dredge up ancient posts about Edward Snowden from their forums when he frequented the site years before his crime, but one of their staff gets in trouble and it's radio silence.


Preach it.

I never liked the guy as his articles were too Microsoft-apologetic for me. Nothing they did was ever wrong and every change or business idea du jour was fantastic. I just wanted the info without the lavish praise of all things MS and the shutting down of anyone disagreeing with him in comments.
 
kvndoom
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:57 am

Checks calendar.

Not April 1st.

Dafuq?
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Glorious
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:43 am

Ryu Connor wrote:
There's not likely an issue, the black letter writing of the law is rarely the full scope or interpretation of that law. Put another way, arguing that the famous SDNY charged you with the wrong statue isn't going to be a winning defense in court. It's more likely that we're laymen, we are, and we don't understand the scope of US federal law.


Yes.

But, luckily, there is an easy short-cut in most cases (because most cases aren't remotely novel):

"Has anyone else been successfully prosecuted under that statute for a similar situation?"

The answer in this case is YES.

(The argument is obvious: If I hire a pretend intermediary for a hitman, is only that pretend intermediary guilty of "soliciting murder"? I didn't solicit sex-with-child murder, no I only solicited someone who might do that themselves--yes, the statute might sound like it requires I talk to the actual gun-man, not his non-trigger-pulling driver who is the "business manager", but what meaningful purpose would such a distinction serve?).

Someone who induces someone else for you is merely your agent. It is still you. You were "arranging" it. The court will likely therefore simply require affirmative proof that you intended this intermediary to persuade the otherwise unwilling children for your later encounter.

I have not read any of the transcripts, but this is something that the FBI would assuredly attempt to procure admissions towards, and they almost undoubtedly got it.

Which is why there are not only ample analogous cases in which this statute has been applied successfully, but a lengthy litany of failed appeals across numerous different circuits.

---

Ultimately, if they put it in front of a jury, and that jury says "guilty" (which it almost certainly will), that is a strong bar for any later appeal along the avenue of "the statute requires DIRECT communication with a minor".

Well, the jury was read that statute, and they evidently didn't think so, did they? "Technicalities" make great theater, but in reality there is strong pressure to not let horrible people go free because of legal hair-splitting/language wrangling over something that EVERYONE AGREES IS TERRIBLY WRONG REGARDLESS.

CScottG wrote:
Child sex laws are weird in the US (..and in many other places as well).


How so? This is clearly very wrong, and it is therefore very illegal.

What's weird about that?

CScottG wrote:
Not only is there the double jurisdiction thing going on


He was soliciting interstate, which is inherently a Federal concern.

Also, "double jurisdiction" is not even remotely unique to our supposedly "weird" laws on this particular matter, as it applies to all sorts of situations. For instance, if you pollute illegally you can get in trouble with the Feds -and- your State.

So this really isn't "weird" nor is it remotely unique.

CScottG wrote:
and specifically one "feeding" off of another (Federal off of State/(local) laws like many other nations), the "numbers" are all over the place for the age of consent in the various States (16-18, not including near-age exceptions)


I don't understand this "feeding" comment, nor do I understand how the range of 16-18 is "all-over" the place.

It's actually a tighter range than Europe's, and the average is higher too.

CScottG wrote:
and that's further compounded by marriage statutes (ie. age of consent: sex with a minor who is NOT married to that individual: an exception).


Which is actually the classic example of desuetude. That is, a law that remain on the books (or custom--much of this is baseline common law tradition as opposed to specific statute) but is no longer extant in actual practice (and in many of these cases, superseded by other laws--clarity is lacking only because relevant cases are too)

CScottG wrote:
A number of states don't even have a minimum age for Judicial review.. and some of those States quite likely have "Justice of the Peace" Judges that can perform marriages (and aren't even licensed Attorney's).


All of whom are mandated reporters, which means this is some bizarre theoretical scenario that likely hasn't been relevant in decades.

It's certainly not remotely relevant to -THIS- case:

Look, if a 15 year-old knocks up a 14 year-old in some rural county no one has ever heard of, and they want to get married and both sets of their parents (assuming they care) want them to get married too, look, whatever. Fine. Literally, what's the difference? They can't get married? Why not? What does it even mean if they do or don't? Unless we are going to imprison them for the pre-existing crime of either "whoops" or "teenagers cannot have sex!", what societal interest is served?

A full grown man soliciting sex with WELL-before puberty children? Yeah, that's like TOTALLY DIFFERENT, no?

Do I have to explain why?

dragontamer5788 wrote:
But rereading paragraph #5 completely wipes away all doubt in my mind for this case. I just want to make sure this wasn't a case of entrapment. With #5 sitting there, it is clear that Peter Bright intended to commit the activities.


Entrapment requires that the accused was induced into committing (or contemplating with concrete action towards eventually fulfilling) a crime for which he had no pre-existing predilection. That, but for the suggestion of law enforcement, the accused would never have considered committing such a crime at all.

Since Peter Bright was boasting about his experience in similar crimes, entrapment is already out of the door. Hopefully that was all his imagination, but it demonstrates that he didn't need to be induced towards this sort of thing: He was already interested, to point where he professed his experience! (He can argue, to a jury, that it was bravado and he would never, ever actually do such a thing and never thought it about it at all before etc... Ambien+wine, Alien space-bats!, mean internet-cops, etc... But, on the face of the evidence, who is going to believe him?)

Entrapment is a very limited exception, it only exists because the police literally creating crimes that would not otherwise occur is not in the interests of justice.

In reality, since it is essentially an affirmative defense, it entirely relies on the jury sympathetically believing that you're either a small-time crook who got caught up in an entirely different sort of game because the police unduly pushed you, or that you're just an average joe who is easily influenced and would be harmless if just left alone.

CRIMINALS aren't sympathetic to people who solicit sex with children, and the entire category of crime is something virtually no one is going to be believe that someone was unwillingly coerced into it.

This isn't a basic shoplifter who the cops ensnare in a check-fraud scheme the accused clearly doesn't even understand, with the obvious intent of jamming him up on felony charges so that they can turn him against his Uncle who is running major narcotics.

Yes, a small-time crook, but on a jury I'm charged to follow the law and the law will likely, as written, basically exculpate him. It might even be a mistrial, but that for the purposes of the accused that can end up being the same thing if the prosecutors just drop the gambit and let it go.

Peter Bright has endless transcripts of him talking about doing this, and everyone here is already aghast. We have trials because, yes, Virginia, the Government lies, but unless something remarkable happens and this isn't the every-day mundane "To Catch A Predator" sort of thing, he's cooked.
 
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:47 am

just brew it! wrote:
Redocbew wrote:
If you're going to cause a ruckus and declare first amendment rights, then would you really want to do it over this guy?

Sorry, I have this compulsion where I am forced to nit-pick whenever someone says something like this. The First Amendment does not protect you from censorship by your employer. It applies only to censorship by the government ("Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech or of the press"), not to commercial entities.


No worries. It's cool. I agree the First Amendment isn't the best example here.
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:16 am

dragontamer5788 wrote:
Hmm. I don't think the prosecutors are doing as tight a job as they are supposed to be doing. He's clearly guilty of something, but I don't think the particular law they quoted for this case is a slam dunk.

It's probably going to pass jury trial though. But I can't square the quoted law with the evidence presented. ut y'all know me, I'm pretty detail oriented and a stickler for even minor mistakes in logic.


Actually, l'esprit de l'escalier: it's right there in the black letter law!

18 U.S. Code § 2422(b) wrote:
Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so


"Or attempts to do so".

According to the criminal complaint, Peter Bright was absolutely attempting to induce someone under 18 to engage in sexual activity which would be a criminal offense. That was the express purpose of his entire endeavor, as fully evidenced by how he physically met with this intermediary in direct furtherance of that goal.

Did he, directly, do it yet? No, but that hinge as provided by your reading (in which he must do the persuading, inducing, enticing, coercing in a non-intermediated communication) is rendered utterly irrelevant by how he was unequivocally well within a course of action in which he would he would directly meet a minor, and then persuade (etc...) them into sexual activity.

"Attempt" in legal terms means that you had mens rea "guilty mind", which means that you had the intent to do something that you knew was criminal -AND- that you took material action towards that committing that crime. That is, (for example) you not only meant to blow up the federal building, but that you bought a bunch of fertilizer too.

Peter Bright's alleged actions have unquestionably justified the charge under this statute: He had intent (transcripts), and he took substantial steps (physically meeting with who was to be the facilitator of this crime).
 
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:46 am

None of this particular part of the discussion likely matters. I'd be VERY surprised if he didn't plea (regardless of which statute they get him to plea to) before it goes to trial.
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:57 am

DancinJack wrote:
None of this particular part of the discussion likely matters. I'd be VERY surprised if he didn't plea (regardless of which statute they get him to plea to) before it goes to trial.


Well, the backdrop to any plea remains the charges he could be convicted under, the likelihood of that conviction before a jury occurring and the probable severity of sentencing.

As you say, whatever he ultimately pleads to might be something totally different, but since such a choice is primarily predicated upon the amount of time the bargain entails, yes, the originating charge is a huge part of the determination.

If, for instance, the ambiguity in the statute was sufficient (Either in black letter or as applied jurisprudence; mayhaps both) that it was plausible that court would actually reject the initial charge (or charges) as legally unwarranted (following, let us say, the rule of lenity) that would have a starkly dramatic effect on the nature of the eventual plea bargain.

This is not entirely hypothetical. It is probably somewhat unusual in sex crimes (which is intuitively very, very illegal and obviously very, very wrong), but there are indeed people who were facing decades for money laundering and tax evasion but walked with misdemeanor plea deals because the legal vagaries of international gambling and the funding therefrom doesn't automatically make for a nice consummate crime as a predicate.
 
dragontamer5788
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Re: Peter Bright of Ars Technica charged by FBI

Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:10 pm

Glorious wrote:
Actually, l'esprit de l'escalier: it's right there in the black letter law!


Thanks for the reference. If anyone else cares, I'm using Legal Information Institute as my reference: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2422 . As Glorious says, its 18 U.S. Code § 2422 (b)

And I can confirm that Glorious's quote is the up-to-date US Code (as of today at least). Paragraph #5 of the charge clearly gives evidence that Peter Bright "attempted to do so".

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