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Age: Is it Just a Number?

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sexting

A 17-year-old cannot vote, buy cigarettes or alcohol, and cannot serve in the armed forces. Yet, a 17-year-old is an adult for criminal prosecution purposes and can legally have consensual sexual relations. Hell, even a 14-17 year old child can legally engage in consensual sex so long as his partner is not more than three years older than him. Despite the fact that kids can legally engage in physical sex, kids may not share nude photos with her lover. Sex is ok, but photos are not because that’s child porn. So, is age just a number? Does it have any real meaning? Is it meant to reflect a level of maturity? Mature enough for sex but not for photos? Is it meant to protect the innocence of childhood even where we prosecute children as adults? Is it reasonable to think that citizens can keep all the differences straight and know what is allowed and what isn’t?

Aldo Leiva, a 51-year-old math tutor, is now facing criminal charges for possession of child pornography and sexual performance by a child. The pornography stems from him receiving topless photos from the 17-year-old. The sexual performance originated because prosecutors claim he induced asked the 17-year-old to provide the photos.

Set aside for a moment that Leiva was a math tutor for this 17-year-old. Imagine he were someone she met at the mall. (Do kids even hang out at the mall anymore?) It would be perfectly legal for Leiva and her to engage in a relationship, even a sexual relationship. Sure, her parents may not like it. But, be that as it may, it would still be legal. Given that he could physically inspect her naked body, why is it that he cannot possess a photo of it? If see her naked body was such a heinous crime, surely Texas would also criminalize the sex as well.

Texas isn’t alone in this enigma. Colorado punishes possession of child pornography where the subject is under 18, yet, the age of consent for sex in Colorado is 17 in general, 15 if the other party is no more than 10 years older, and even younger if the difference in age is four years or less. Kids can engage in sex. They just can’t share photos. Again, makes zero sense!

It’s time to have some consistency in our laws. Consensual relationships are simply that – a product of consent. Yet, we choose to criminalize some acts between the two consenting parties and not others. It’s time to make age more than just a number, especially when the number is different for every crime and situation. Until then, remember, You Can Have Sex With Them; Just Not Photograph Them!


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Human Decency 

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to protect and serve; honor; integrity; trust

These are the words I learned growing up in a police family. Being an officer meant you did what was right; at least that’s what I was told. 

What has happened to those principles? Reading about a full female body cavity search IN PUBLIC during a traffic stop makes me sick. How degrading would that be if an officer decided your pants should be removed in a parking lot because he smelled marijuana? Police encounters may be embarrassing but they should not be degrading and intimately intrusive. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d consider that a rape. 


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Not Your Typical Hollywood Ending

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Chronicle Editorial Hits Nail on the Head: Hollywood ending, A potentially innocent man sat behind bars so that a prosecutor could get on television.

“an awful lot of razzle dazzle for the serious business that goes down in criminal courtrooms”

Some prosecutors forget. Some never know it to begin with. But, criminal courtrooms are serious business. Life and liberty (for all) are at stake. Criminal courtrooms mean much more than their civil counterparts who fight over money.

It is interesting that most people do not care about the criminal justice justice system; most do not care if rights are trampled; most have no idea innocent people can be convicted; until it happens to them or a family member.

For over 21 years, Kelly Siegler (a Harris County Assistant District Attorney) played fast and loose with the rules. She used the courtroom as her stage for theatrics. Yes, she was aggressive, and that’s ok, as long as it is fair. Hiding evidence is not fair. Subpoenaing witnesses under a different case to hide the witness is not fair. Lying to the court is not fair. Interfering with public information requests is not fair. Continuing to hide evidence long after you no longer work as a prosecutor is not fair.

Just as there are bad influences in every profession, Kelly has marred the reputation of prosecutors, even those who do seek justice. It’s easy to be fair. A web of lies and deceit do nothing for our system of justice, except create injustice.

In your not-so-typical Hollywood ending, the girl does not get the boy! In this one, the girl loses everything after lying and cheating.


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