State lawmaker goes 3rd try on ‘Revenge Porn’ law

FOX10 News | WALA


Arizona lawmakers hope the third time is the charm for a so-called “Revenge Porn” bill. Revenge porn is when someone posts sexually explicit photos of a former mate without that person’s consent or knowledge. A revised third version of the bill passed the Arizona House on Wednesday. That bill will likely pass quickly in the Senate, potentially on Thursday.

The ACLU initially opposed the law, saying it was written too broadly. Librarians, photographers and artists, for example, could be unfairly prosecuted the civil rights group feared. Meanwhile, victims have had no way to get justice.

The bill is a bipartisan measure that would protect a growing number of victims, but it has struggled to leave the State Capitol.

“This is the third session dealing with this issue,” Rep. J.D. Mesnard, LD-17, said. He is sponsoring the bill.

House Bill 2001, a proposed revenge porn law, has been hanging in the balance for eight months.

“We’ve had, I think I identified about 10 cases for you, where we weren’t able to prosecute under the law as written,” explained Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

The first version of the bill passed in 2014 but county prosecutors couldn’t enforce it after the ACLU sued over concerns about how the law may infringe on First Amendment rights.

Mesnard then revised it.

“We sent it over to the Senate,” Mesnard said. “You can ask them why they neglected to vote on it. It was probably just a mistake.”

Ultimately, the bill that would have made revenge porn a felony missed out on a vote before the last legislative session ended.

“I felt extremely frustrated because I know that there are victims out there,” Mesnard said.

Mesnard was referring to victims like “Nicole” who described for us last June how an ex-boyfriend humiliated and harassed her using intimate photos.

“He got angry after the relationship ended and he posted them online without my permission and without my knowledge,” she said.

Will the third time be the charm?

The bill is fast-tracking through the Legislature and specifically spells out what it means to digitally humiliate or harass an ex.

“What the ACLU wanted was a ‘motive’ behind the sharing or spreading of the photo, as well as an expectation of privacy when the photo was originally shared with the person who then spreads it,” Mesnard explained.

The bill has an emergency clause, meaning it goes into law as soon as Gov. Doug Ducey presumably signs it. County attorneys will certainly be checking cases they’ve been unable to prosecute to see if they can now bring charges.… Read the rest