An obscenity case in Georgia that centered around unsolicited sext messages has been tossed out of court, because current state law does not cover electronic images.
In 2012, Charles Lee Warren sent a woman an unsolicited photo of his penis, which is tattooed with the phrase ""STRONG E nuf 4 A MAN BUT Made 4 A WOMAN." She filed a complaint with police and he was arrested. Warren faced up to three years in prison for the crime. According to the BBC, because of a decades-old law, the court decided to dismiss the case:
The court ruled unanimously that the 1970 law applied only to "tangible" material sent through the post...The obscenity law under which he was prosecuted makes it a felony to send unsolicited material depicting nudity or sexual conduct unless the "envelope or container" in which it is sent bears a warning in "at least eight-point boldface type"....On Monday, the court said the case was not being dismissed merely because electronic text messaging did not exist in 1970 when the law was passed.
"The specific prohibition is clearly aimed at tangible material that is delivered in a tangible manner... and because appellant did not send anything through the mail, he did not violate this prohibition," the court stated in their opinion. "This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the imprinted notice on the envelope or container must be in 'eight-point boldface type' and must say that the 'container' should be 'returned' to the sender if the addressee does not want to 'open' it."
This ruling overturned a lower court's decision on the case. New legislation would update the law to include electronic messages, but it has not been passed yet.
Until then, it would seem people in Georgia are free to send gross, unwanted pictures to unsuspecting people without any legal consequences, so long as they stick to electronic devices. Oh good. I'm sure nothing awful will come from that.
Image via Shutterstock.