Last week a Gold Gate Estates man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a September trial in North Carolina. The story didn’t get much coverage here, since the case was tried out of state (where the websites were being hosted), but he was running his dark-net website Playpen from his computer right here in Southwest Florida. The website may have been the largest child pornography distributor in the world, with up to 250,000 members.
The bust led to an international sting, dubbed “Operation Pacifier”, that netted almost 900 child pornography arrests around the world and some 250+ children victims were identified and/or rescued. That operation has led to a lot of coverage, both due to the success in taking down such a large number of child predators, but also for the criticism of the techniques used by the government. The FBI kept the Playpen site up and running and continuing to distribute child pornography as investigators sought to trace the sites users, going as far to infect them with malware that allowed them to be tracked. We have discussed the legal privacy concerns, and the concerns the federal government running child porn sites (a LOT of them), previously on this blog. The concerns are not unfounded, as there have already been cases where judges rejected using malware to search computers even when the location is unknown.
That didn’t save Chase, who has been locked away for 30 years, with a lifetime of supervision when he gets out. This will qualify him as a sex offender, and the additional sex-offender reporting that legally requires as well.
While looking into mugshots today: regarding the amazing mugs on the fake Walmart squatter story, I ran across an old friend. We covered “Cute Mugshot Girl” Alyssa Bathrick when her mugshot went viral, but I missed that she got another arrest… and another mugshot earlier this year, when she got a shoplifting arrest. I must say, she still takes a pretty good picture:
Alyssa Bathrick’s most recent Mugshot
Here’s the original that made her famous, and a couple others from her growing portfolio:
Alyssa Bathrick’s Cute Mug Shot
The Supreme Court has ruled this week that a reasonable error of law by law enforcement does not require suppression of the evidence improperly obtained. I will have more on this when I get a chance to read the decision in full, but wanted to go ahead and note it in a post as it is an important search and seizure precedent, that was just released a couple of days ago. I don’t think the stop would still stand in Florida, as our law does not appear to be as ambiguous as the North Carolina law, but I guarantee this case will be used to try to forgive law enforcement errors.
Things not to do: Punch your lawyer in court. Really, you shouldn’t punch anybody in court. But I can’t stress this enough, don’t punch your own lawyer! Check out the video on the ABA Journal website, the guy just cold cocks the poor attorney. He wasn’t even the guy’s attorney of record, he was just covering the hearing for another attorney. Let that be a lesson to us lawyers, never cover for other people: you don’t know how crazy their clients are! The guy earned himself a bonus 6 months in jail for contempt.
Wcnc: video link #thingsnottodo
Interestingly, wcnc.com is also covering the cop killer who was just arrested here, in Fort Myers, as his crime occurred up there in ’96. Small world.