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Revenge Porn Bill – A “Hardcore” Assessment of the Law

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It may be time for scorned lovers living in Florida to back off from toying with the idea of posting on the Internet, evidence of their once-heated moments. That practice should completely be done away with as the state’s governor, Governor Rick Scott, has already signed into law the Revenge Porn Bill, which makes it unlawful in the state to post “revenge porn” images and videos on the Internet.

Florida became the 18th US state criminalizing the said offense. Currently, 23 states in the US have revenge porn laws.

First Amendment

People have different takes. To some, the bill allows encroachment into people’s business and privacy, particularly on the part of the violators. Furthermore, the bill may be limiting free speech enshrined in the First Amendment.revenge porn - broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

Others think that the bill is good enough to limit harmful acts against unsuspecting ex-partners, stating that such acts can have longtime emotional, reputational, and psychological effects on the part of the victim. Many advocates lament the fact that the House session when the bill was put on the floor, ended too early for legislators to have a longer time scrutinizing it before passing it to the Senate. They want harsher penalties for perpetrators and authorities to have easier access to personal information.

Bill Doesn’t Have Enough Bite

People cite the following reasons why they see the bill being ineffective in curbing or eliminating “revenge porn” violations.

  • The law is applicable only to content posted on the Internet. In other words, content shared through phones (email and text messages) are not covered.
  • The personal information of the victim has also been disseminated by the suspect for an act to be qualified as a case of “revenge porn.” The law is not applicable if only the face of the victim is shown in the video or image.

Search Powers May Be Too Broad

Complaints about the exercise of police search power may also arise and, if abuses are committed, may reach the Supreme Court. Critics of the law decry the supposed low threshold given as a limit for the police to have the right to be issued a search warrant to perform inspection of the suspect’s residence. It only requires that the police have probable cause to believe that such residence harbors evidence of the commission of the crime.

Penalties

The bill is also being castigated for its provision on penalties, seen by some as “too gentle.” A defendant is only charged with misdemeanor for the first offense. The second offense is penalized with only up to a $5,000 fine (that includes lawyer fees) and a possible imprisonment of up to five years. There is no provision on the penalties to be applied on committing the offense beyond the second instance.

Right to Standing

This is the provision of the bill that specifically states that victims have the right to claim damages against the publisher of illegal contents associated with “porn revenge.” Victims can file claims for an injunctive relief and/or financial damages resulting from the publishing of the damaging content.

Broward’s Leading Criminal Lawyer

Your use of technology can lead to the accumulation of evidence that the prosecution panel can use against you in court. You’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to ensure that such pieces of evidence, when possible, cannot be used during the legal proceedings. Broward criminal lawyer, Kenneth Padowitz, provides the strategic criminal defense that is needed in such situations.