If you’ve been keeping up with this story, you know that Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd had Colorado resident, Phillip Greaves, arrested last Monday for mailing a book called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct” to Florida cops.
It should be noted that Greaves is not accused of pedophilia or any other act of injuring a child. He simply wrote a book that discussed the topic.
And the man who had him arrested? Well here is what Sheriff Judd says about the case:
“This has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with obscenity,” Judd said. “We had a law in Florida that applied. We only needed jurisdiction.”
So, not only is Sheriff Judd completely ignorant of the historical conflict between obscenity laws and free speech, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with enforcing Florida state laws on Colorado residents.
When it comes to egotistical idiocy, Judd is clearly off the charts. And, of course, who pays for that idiocy? Well, certainly not the idiot. Nope. Phillip Greaves must sit in jail waiting for court system to throw out the charges, which is a near inevitability. But Judd will be a hero because there is no such thing as being too hard on anyone accused of a crime against children. Innocence or guilt does not factor into the lynch mob mentality which is the force that modulates the public in cases like this.
Finally, as reported in AVN, in order to extradite Greaves, it was necessary to charge him with a felony, but his book apparently doesn’t violate any of the felony provisions of the law under which he was charged. In order to rise to the level of a felony, the book would have to include pictures of actual children.
This apparent manipulation by Florida law enforcement of its own statutes could undermine the case and lead to even bigger headaches for the County.
Judd in his rush to exploit the sensational story to his own ends might wind up being sued (which really only penalizes the taxpayers).
The story, said Walters, was a national one even before Judd stuck his nose into it, which he probably did for the very fact that it was national. But the national appeal of such a case could also provide Greaves with a legal defense team that he could never in his life afford. He will probably be forced to use a public defender at first, said Walters, but soon, he expects to see a team of top drawer First Amendment lawyers descend upon the state and offer Greaves their services.
As is often the case, the porn industry is at the forefront of the fight to defend the First Amendment from those who would gladly trample it to satisfy their own narrow moral or political agenda.
In the end, as I have often written, the First Amendment contains no exceptions for obscenity. The Supreme Court pulled obscenity exemption out of its collective ass. It’s like saying that the First Amendment protects free speech unless its really offensive to enough people, in which case we will pretend there is no First Amendment. The fact is, of course, the First Amendment is designed specifically to protect offensive speech.