Revenge Porn: Louisiana Lawmakers Pass New Law

Posted by & filed under Criminal Statutes, Cyber Crimes, Legislative News.

 

Louisiana Joins Trend of States Banning ‘Revenge Porn’

“Vengeance is mine” is a quote often attributed to God by Bible followers. (Romans: 12:19, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”) It encourages people to leave justice to a higher power in lieu of taking matters into their own hands.

 
But, “vengeance is mine” also is a sentiment put into practice by jilted lovers who participate in “revenge porn,” which, generally, is the act of posting sexual photos of an ex-lover. The forces fighting the Internet exposure.
 
Last year I posted a blog about the increasing trend by states to criminalize a new internet crime called revenge porn. As I predicted, the state of Louisiana got into the act. The Associated Press reported last week that sending “revenge porn” may put you behind bars in Louisiana. (The Legislature took up the matter in April and a new law went into effect Aug. 1.) Anyone who shares a nude or partially nude picture or video without permission — often an attempt at public shaming — will now face up to 2 years in jail and a fine reaching $10,000, according to an article published in The Advocate of Baton Rouge. This offense is a FELONY! The law does not apply to those who are voluntarily exposed in public (think Bourbon Street balconies).
 
Laws already on the books made it a crime to send a nude image of someone under the age of 17. The new Louisiana law criminalizing “nonconsensual disclosure of a private image” is aimed at protecting adults, even if they originally consented to be photographed. While it was first thought that men were the overwhelming purveyors of the images, women have been known to exact their revenge in this manner as well, a recent Huffington Post article says.
 
“The nonconsensual distribution of private images is a violation of personal privacy and is a severe form of bullying that can be extremely damaging to its victims,” state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, said in a statement. “This proposed law will help ensure that perpetrators are being held accountable for their actions and also send the message that this type of behavior is not tolerated in Louisiana.” Stokes, by the way, authored the new state law.
 
California led the charge to criminalize revenge porn two years ago. There, the governor signed a law that makes revenge porn punishable by up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both. Repeat offenders may be punished by up to 1 year in jail. Now, at least 25 states have laws which in one way or another address revenge porn.
 
Federal lawmakers are looking to weigh in. Because the state laws vary so widely — some criminalize the practice entirely, while others only punish people who post images with an intent to harass — some believe that Congress should put forward a law that would criminalize the practice on a federal level.

 
With revenge porn now on the radar of lawmakers, police and prosecutors, will the old way of breaking up with someone – packing keepsakes like dried flowers, photographs and stuffed animals into a shoebox and hiding the box in the back of a closet — come into vogue again? Probably not, but it sure beats the possibility of fines and jail time.

 
As I stated last year, it is important now more than ever to limit your Internet footprint in this wacky new world of digital photography and social media. Do the best you can in love and your romantic relationships.  The next time you are tempted to post sexy photos of your ex-lover, girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse in an attempt to seek revenge — think twice.

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter practices Criminal Defense Law in New Orleans.

 

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