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Sex Offender Claims Police Entrapped Him With Animated Emoticons 432

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-resist-the-smiley-face dept.
60-year-old John Jacques has appealed his conviction for engaging in sexually graphic online conversations with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl, saying the police entrapped him using animated emoticons during the chats. From the article: "Jacques claims prosecutors withheld evidence when they failed to use a computer program that would have shown the jury animated emoticons, which he argued was 'clear evidence of enticement.' He doesn't support his argument with a legal basis, the appeals court found. 'We fail to see how viewing the emoticons as animations would have led the jury to conclude that he was the victim of excessive incitement,' the court wrote."
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Sex Offender Claims Police Entrapped Him With Animated Emoticons

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  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:34PM (#35520990) Homepage

    He was sexually attracted to the emoticons, not the girl.

    • by spun (1352)

      Damn sexy emoticons, if they don't want the attention they shouldn't dress in such slutty ASCII.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:08PM (#35522466)

      If you have a sexually explicit conversation with a consenting adult who is pretending to be a child, that is illegal (because of your intent).
      If you have a sexually explicit conversation with a child who is pretending to be an adult, that is also illegal (because of the act).

      So basically, any sexually explicit conversations online could ruin your life, because you simply don't know who you are talking to.

      That seems wrong to me.

      • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @07:04PM (#35523836)

        That seems wrong to me.

        Laws of intent seem rather dubious to me simply because one can craft any intention out of anything innocent.

        "If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." -Cardinal Richelieu [wikipedia.org] (disputed tho)

        The point of this quote is that authoritarian figures can simply take anything you do or say and make a crime out of it with intent:

        You bought a gun. Well, maybe you are planning to kill a politician with it?

        You have a chemistry set in your house. Well, maybe you were planning to make drugs with it?

        You have encryption on your computer. Well, maybe you were planning on hiding illegal activity?

        See where I'm going with this. It is simply your word against theirs. No one can read your mind to see if you are telling the truth, so they are simply accusing you of something that you haven't done but could possibly do. How can you defend against that?

        Crimes should be things that actually happened after the fact or in progress. Yes the cops should stop a person who is trying to commit a crime and yes they should prosecute them for the action itself, but if you can convict a person on the intent to commit a crime are basically condemning the good majority of citizens who would never in their life commit such a crime.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          See where I'm going with this. It is simply your word against theirs. No one can read your mind to see if you are telling the truth, so they are simply accusing you of something that you haven't done but could possibly do. How can you defend against that?

          You make it sound as though the police simply pick people up at random, accuse them of unprovable crimes and get them jailed. It's a bit more complicated than that, they still have to prove in court that you are guilty of something. If you have enough evidence that someone was genuinely intending to abuse children, I say it's a good thing you catch them in advance.

          The fact that some places in the US appear to have stupid laws branding you as a sex offender because you took a piss in an alley is a differe

    • by BobSutan (467781)

      And by girl you mean police officer of legal age.

      This kind of police activity is quite literally "thought crime" since no actual crime had been committed. Is it good that guys like him aren't out there *possibly* victimizing real people? Probably, sure. But does it warrant locking him up? Probably not. IMO they should use stings like this merely to flag and monitor people so that if they do try and take action, THEN you arrest them. What they're doing isn't any different from going after people who get off

  • Awesome mustache and his name is John Jacques. This man is clearly a french buccaneer from the 1700-1800's. At that time it was common practice to sleep with 13. Not his fault.
  • Good luck with that. You should also tell them how the mean and tricksy the police are for saying "Hey, I'm a 13-year-old girl" when they -really weren't-. Gasp. You were suckered right into soliciting sexually graphic conversations, they practically haxxored your Gibson with such coercion like "Hey, I'm a kid" and "I think Spongebob is great."
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by i.r.id10t (595143)

      Lets take the kid out of the equation and substitute something else that is often sensationalized - gun buying.

      Mayor Bloomberg of NYC hired some folks in Arizona to go to a gunshow and purchase arms from private individuals. Nothing in Arizona law prevents person to person transfers, and Fed law only requires that both parties be residents of the same state and the transaction take place in that state. So legal for a non-Felon Arizona citizen to buy/sell to/from another non-Felon.

      But... Bloomberg wants to

      • by DWMorse (1816016)
        That's a great strawman argument, and good luck with that, but I'm not falling for it. Hitting up vulnerable kids on the internet is NOT arms trade.
    • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:26PM (#35521768) Homepage Journal

      Someday a defense lawyer will be able to prove that almost all the "kids hot for sex" on the Internet are not kids.

      At that point he'll be able to credibly claim that his client's goal was to see the look on an adult's face when another adult showed up pretending to be interested in sex with a kid.

      Once about 80-90% of "horny kids" online are not kids, judges will have no choice but to admit this into evidence and REQUIRE that the prosecution prove that the defendant is lying and that the defendant really did expect a kid to be there.

      This will be especially true in cases where the defendant ONLY chatted up the policeman-pretending-to-be-a-kid and said he was coming over for sex but never showed. In a world where 80-90% of "online horny kids" are adults, NOT showing up is strong evidence that you were in it for the lulz rather than sex.

      What I expect to happen a lot sooner:

      Some edgy newspaper will, with the approval of their lawyers, go online and hit up "kids" online and then report each and every kid to the local family protective service authority or local cops. The local cops will have to take the time to double-check with the feds and state cops to make sure it's not a sting, chewing up valuable tax dollars in the process. Sooner or later there will be a mis-communication and family protective services or the local cops will "bust" an FBI agent.

      I wonder how soon before we cross that 80-90% threshold, if we haven't done so already. I hope someday the "pretend" rate gets to 100%, because that will mean there are 0 horny kids out there chatting up adults for sex in Internet chat rooms.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Um, no. Back in the 90's when I was still a teen myself, I met about a dozen of my girlfriends through IRC or ICQ. All of them were in the 14-17 range. Not a single one of them ever turned out to be an adult posing as a teen. I dunno how these guys manage to keep getting busted - even if the number of cops posing online has gone up by a couple orders of magnitude, so has the number of kids with internet connections. It's probably the same as with most other laws - the dumb criminals get caught quickly,

      • by FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @05:16PM (#35522566)

        Is it illegal to be a kid and pretend to be an adult and invite a '13 year old cop' to have sex with you? Because that could be a form of civil disobedience or police denial of service (PDOS?) as well.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:39PM (#35521076)

    At first I read it and I was like O.o

    Then I went :P

    And finally I did a :D

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:39PM (#35521078)

    That's why I always turn emoticons off in chat—you never know what's on the other end. [xkcd.com]

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:40PM (#35521100) Journal

    Fact is, even if the evidence wouldn't change the jury's mind, the court may have been wrong to suppress it, violating his right to due process.

    Stupid prosecutors and judges are how shitbirds like this walk free.

  • Well if the emotion was big glittery text saying "LET'S FUCK!!" then yeah, maybe. But somehow I doubt it.
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chaonici (1913646) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:41PM (#35521112)

    60-year-old John Jacques has appealed his conviction for engaging in sexually graphic online conversations with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl

    Explicit conversations with people under 18 are illegal? And can get you on the sex offender list?

    Am I the only one who sees that as rather ridiculous?

    • FTA:

      Police arrested Jacques Nov. 29, 2007, at a fast-food restaurant after arranging to meet the girl there for a sleepover. He engaged in sexually graphic conversations and sent a pornographic video and pictures to the police officer posing as the 13-year-old girl.

      That is ridiculous.

      • by Chaonici (1913646)

        Alright, that's not so bad. But TFS gave me the impression that the conversation itself counts as, for lack of a better term, a sexual offense, and I find that hard to believe.

        • by Artraze (600366)

          Not so bad? I dunno. I think that it would be far better if it were illegal to have such a conversation (and sending porn) with someone underage (provided they could prove you knew) than this. I mean the only victim I can see here is the offender of a police trap. If he actually contacted a minor sure, but what's illegal here? It's like possible intent to harm a minor probably if a minor was actually involved.

          • You don't know what their intent is at all until they actually (try to) do something.

        • I don't know what the law is in the US but, given that we here in England seem to get most of our laws from you second-hand it's probably the same as here. It's a criminal offense called "Grooming" - or "Intent to solicit a minor to carry out a sexual act" (may not be the exact wording though). Would you say it was OK and shouldn't be a criminal offense if it was a 60-year old pervert sending your 13-year old daughter pornographic videos and telling her all the things he wanted to do to her?

    • I'm Chris hansen What are you doing hear?

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:55PM (#35521298)
      I'd answer you, but I have Tourettes and suspect you might be under 18.
    • by Fuzzums (250400)

      And remember parents: talking about birds and bees with your kids is a no-no.

      • by sribe (304414)

        And remember parents: talking about birds and bees with your kids is a no-no.

        No, that's fine. But trying to get them to meet you in a hotel room so that you can fuck them without their mother finding out, that would be a problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CaseCrash (1120869)
      I always assume that someone who says they're 13 is either a cop or a fat guy in a basement. Real 13 year olds pretend they're older.
      • by osgeek (239988)

        Great, now you're leaving the 8-year-olds out in the cold. Who's supposed to chat them up?

      • by formfeed (703859)

        I always assume that someone who says they're 13 is either a cop or a fat guy in a basement. Real 13 year olds pretend they're older.

        Good point!
        - I'm 14 by the way.

        oops- before I forget:
        :) ;) 8P OMG LOL

    • Is being in trouble for conversing with a fictional character.
    • What is even more ridiculous, is that he is being charged with that, yet at no point did he talk to an underage girl. There was an adult police officer on the other end the whole time.
    • 60-year-old John Jacques has appealed his conviction for engaging in sexually graphic online conversations with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl

      Explicit conversations with people under 18 are illegal? And can get you on the sex offender list?

      Am I the only one who sees that as rather ridiculous?

      What I don't get is if two consenting adults have the same conversation with one telling the other (he/she) is under 18, and it is not a sting like this, is that a crime for either one or the other or both?

      What if two adults tell each other they are both under 13 and have said conversation?
      What if they roleplay, same conversation, knowing the correct ages?
      Same conversation with a child CLAIMING (he/she) is an older age?

      I don't get why "I knew you were not under 18 because you did XYZ in the chatroom" is not

  • This defense is like saying "She got me horny, then said she was 14. Then after repeatedly asking me to do it, and humping the air, I did it anyway". Nice tale, you still made the decision to have sex with a child. You lose, and you need help. The only defense you get is if you never actually touched a child. This being the case, you should get help. If, however, you did not just talk about these things, the other inmates will take care of you just right.
    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      An important difference is that the girl in the story is 13. In your example she's 14, which is legal in a few states (I don't know of any state that goes lower than 14 though). All a cultural thing. Depending on the country you're in it could be much lower. I believe it's 12 many parts of Mexico for example.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        As far as I know the legal age of consent is no less than 16 anywhere in the US, apart from close-age exemptions in some states which certainly wouldn't apply to a 60-year-old.

  • Ugh. Mistrial. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:49PM (#35521216)

    Yes, this guy is probably guilty and belongs behind bars. No, it probably wouldn't make a difference to show animated emoticons. But that's not the point. The point is that he was convicted by a jury of his peers when that jury was shown evidence that differed from what was actually the case. In essence, the evidence was tampered with. It shouldn't be up to a judge to decide if that is a material difference, it should be up to the jury to decide. They were deprived of that choice, and all judgements that followed from that point on should be considered null and void.

    Yeah, it will cost the taxpayer money to have a retrial. But that money is worth it to ensure the integrity of the justice system. If you care so much, take it out of the salary of the person that fucked up the evidence.

    On a side note, I think it's pretty despicable that this was filed under "idle", as if we are supposed to point and laugh at the stupid defence. This goes right to the heart of how we are supposed to enact justice, it's not a laughing matter. I'd rather the guy went free than we jailed him on the basis of faulty evidence. The moment we decide it's okay to skip due process when we're "sure" of guilt, we give up the foundation of modern justice and undo centuries of civilisation.

    • by sribe (304414)

      Yes, this guy is probably guilty and belongs behind bars. No, it probably wouldn't make a difference to show animated emoticons. But that's not the point. The point is that he was convicted by a jury of his peers when that jury was shown evidence that differed from what was actually the case. In essence, the evidence was tampered with. It shouldn't be up to a judge to decide if that is a material difference, it should be up to the jury to decide. They were deprived of that choice, and all judgements that followed from that point on should be considered null and void.

      Actually, the judge gets to decide what evidence is relevant and admissable to begin with. So also, judges get to decide whether overlooked/suppressed/incorrect evidence could possibly be sufficient to change a verdict. Nothing inherently wrong with that--while I personally think great care should be taken to give the defendant the benefit of any doubt, some mistakes are just obviously too minor to have had any influence on the jury...

      • Well, gee, I hope they get the font right next time. And make sure its the same tone of magenta as he uses on his chat program. And get a monitor calibrated to match the settings of his own. In fact, the whole jury should have to dogpile onto his chair in front of his computer, in his house, just so it matches the evidence precisely.

    • Unless the animated emoticon said, "I....AM....REALLY....A....POLICE....OFFICER....AND....I....WANT....TO.....MEET....YOU....FOR....SEX....AND....WATCH....YOUR....PORN", there is nothing in that claim that would have kept him from sending porn to and arranging to have sex with what he thought was a 13 year-old girl.

      This was not a miscarriage of justice, and was not taking shortcuts with the law. Even if we accept that this was one I that wasn't dotted, or one T that wasn't crossed, there is no way that it

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @03:50PM (#35521232)

    Mr Clippy always gave me a boner.

    • by zill (1690130)
      After Microsoft killed off Clippy did you engage in necrophilia or did you switch to a different mascot?
  • Haven't sexual predators figured out that "they were asking for it" doesn't work as a defense regardless of how prudish the judge and jury might be?

    • by Whatsisname (891214) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:08PM (#35521480) Homepage

      You've already made an error in assuming they would "figure it out" to begin with. Most of them are mentally ill, are essentially incapable of "figuring that out", or are unable to recognize they are even harming someone. Harsher prison sentences or abuse from other inmates will never solve the problem.

      What they need is treatment, and the security to be able to get treatment without fear of reprisal from other people so they can work on their problems before they hurt someone. Ignorance and failure to accept that simple fact and calls for harsher penalties from the "tough on crime" crowd will never solve the issue, but it will simply make pedophiles keep their mouths shut, avoid treatment, and ultimately hurt someone, further destroying their life and causing abuse for their victim.

      • by osgeek (239988)

        Since no one has been able to show a reliable way to treat these people (short of castration), I think that society has opted for keeping the offenders locked up.

        Someday we'll be able to rewire bad brains, but until then let's just keep the societally destructive ones apart from the rest of us.

        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          Someday we'll be able to rewire bad brains

          The scary part is who decides what is a bad brain.

  • ... if he didn't get nailed by "a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl" . . . he would probably be hitting on a real 13-year-old girl . . . claiming that he was 14. Sorry, Jacques, "No sympathy (or soup) for you!"

  • I don't know how many times I've heard people talk about how "The cops offered him xxx, it was entrapment!" IANAL, but my understanding is that entrapment requires duress of some kind (cop tells you to go buy drugs or he'll break your legs, and then arrests you for buying drugs) or overt trickery where you lack any intent (cop sells you a toaster filled with drugs even though you genuinely thought you were just buying a toaster). Merely offering something comes nowhere near the legal baseline for entrapme

    • No that isn't just entrapment. Entrapment is meant to protect from police soliciting people into illegal things that they did not initiate, and conceivably would not have without the cop inviting them.

      Take the following example. A really hot female undercover police officer walking down the street on the Vegas strip, stops random guys that look drunk and offers them sexual favors if they cover her bar tab.

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Take the following example. A really hot female undercover police officer walking down the street on the Vegas strip, stops random guys that look drunk and offers them sexual favors if they cover her bar tab.

        That one probably wouldn't be illegal either way. It's not a direct exchange of money - it's essentially exchanging a gift for sex. That really isn't illegal (hell the entire Valentine's Day holiday is more or less BUILT on that idea).

        Prostitution laws are one of those oddities where the action is legal is just about every single way except a direct handover of cash. Two friends who are just bored can do it - no problem. Women do it for drinks at the bar no problem. Every Valentine's Day it gets trade

    • by sribe (304414) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:11PM (#35521524)

      Roughly, yes. More specifically, entrapment is something that induces someone to commit a crime that he would not have otherwise. Pretending to be a 13-year old online in order to attract old perverts who are looking for 13-year-olds is not entrapment.

      (Important precedent was established in the DeLorean case. DeLorean was told there were investors interested in his troubled car company. As soon as the undercover feds mentioned drugs he started trying to back out. They threatened his family. He dealt. They arrested. He spent a long time and a lot of money at his trial to force them to produce the unedited video of that meeting.)

    • You are completely mistaken. An classic example of entrapment is this: A police officer posing as a prostitute tells someone that they will have sex with them for $X. This is why when police pose as a prostitute they always wait for the "John" to bring up money. The same is true when a police officer poses as a "John", the officer will wait for the prostitute to bring up money.
  • Meta-crimes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by srussia (884021)
    Really now... using "a computer to facilitate a child sex crime"? Let's work back here. Was there a child? Was there any sex? What exactly was facilitated? Oh, but he used a computer! Gotcha.
    • by rwv (1636355)
      I don't understand why they don't think a 13-year-old won't start lying and saying they're 18-years-old when they want to have explicit conversations with strangers on the internet. Also, I thought chat programs were supposed to disallow all people who are 13-years-old from entering explicit rooms. Shouldn't there be reasonable expectation that if somebody identifies themselves as 13 in a chatroom mean they're just trying to engage in virtual ageplay because they've already told the chat protocol they are
    • He sent what he believed to be a 13 year old girl pictures of his junk and then arranged to meet her at a fast food joint for a "sleep over". The whole "using a computer" bit is just clarification. The guy was trying to diddle a 13 year old. I have zero sympathy.
  • by bmo (77928)

    There are no women on the internet and every underage girl is an FBI agent.

    While these are not always true, it's a good idea to assume they are.

    And on the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

    http://chrisabraham.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/nobodyknowsyoureadogontheinternet.jpg [chrisabraham.com]

    --
    BMO

    • by ross.w (87751)
      The internet is where:

      The men are men
      The women are men
      The little girls are FBI agents
  • ...if there were any animated icons, he put them there himself or picked the theme himself or they were the default theme.

    I know of no chat client that sends actual animated graphics over the interbutt. They are all locally stored and used when the chat program successfully greps an ascii smiley and substitutes for it.

    They are *his* *own* *emoticons*

    --
    BMO

  • IANAL but I've always questioned the core illegality of being caught in a sting that isn't *really* illegal. By that I mean, he wasn't really engaging in a conversation with a 13 year old. All he actually did was talk dirty to an adult. Same with drug busts with fake cocaine or whatever. Have I truly committed a crime if I exchange a suitcase full of cash for bags of sugar?

    Another problem I have is who these guys are catching. I watched a lot of To Catch a Predator and, while some guys seemed like Pred

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday March 17, 2011 @04:43PM (#35522032) Journal

    Where the men are men.

    The women are men.

    And the 13 year old girls are cops.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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