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Craigs List, Prosecution and Legislating Morality

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posted on May, 9 2009 @ 01:08 AM

South Carolina Attorney General Threatens Craigslist With Criminal Prosecution Over User Content

A new sortie in the battle over craigslist's "erotic services" section came today when South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster sent a letter to craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster threatening company management with "criminal investigation and prosecution" over the website's alleged facilitation of prostitution and -- more unexpectedly -- its hosting of "graphic pornographic pictures" posted by craigslist users. The letter gave the website until May 15, 2009 to permanently remove those portions of the site "containing categories for and functions allowing for the solicitation of prostitution and the dissemination and posting of graphic pornographic material," and threatened legal action if it did not comply.

Citizen Media

More information in the article:

After all of these years, all of the violence and failed attempts to legislate morality; it seems that even now in 2009 our elected officials wont or can't learn.

Now don't think for a moment that I like, endorse or appreciate prostitution; but I do like, endorse and appreciate common sense. Something that is sadly lacking here.

First I see a "First Amendment" issue with the "Government" of South Carolina telling Craigslist that they must filter what the users of their site present to them.

Second I see another "First Amendment" issue in telling people they can not post whatever they choose to as long as it falls within the guidelines of that particular website. (Much like here)

All over the nation the police have been using Craigslist for "Sting Operations" to arrest and prosecute Prostitutes and their Johns. It is fast becoming the most popular area to facilitate meetings between those wanting to sell sex, and those wanting to pay for it.

Perhaps it is morally reprehensible; I try and not cast dispersions on other peoples actions. I just know that the fight to legislate and enforce morals imposed by society has always been and continues to be a massive failure.


posted on May, 9 2009 @ 02:24 AM
reply to post by semperfortis
Hiya Semperfortis, the UK has been suffering at the hands of politicians trying to assert their own (apparent) morality on others too. It strikes me that difficult periods in history conjure up moral opprobrium. We are in the midst of a recession and the politicians begin drawing our attention to the behavior of others. They shake their heads and invite us to condemn certain niches of society.

To my mind, it was the same process that identified drinkers of alcohol during Prohibition. The Police were politicized and used to enforce a morality that was wholly at odds with many people. Lo and behold a couple of bottles of whiskey IIRC were subsequently discovered stashed in the Oval Office from that period.

The difference here 'may' be that politicians that choose to avail themselves of a good prostitute will go for the high-class variety. A knee trembler is the same old thing whether it costs $50 or $500
Somehow or other, the morality is ascribed a different value.

Prostitution will always be around. The answer isn't to condemn and arrest the participants. Like Prohibition, it just increases the black economy and leaves the poorest people vulnerable to all forms of abuse. People operating from their homes are intrinsically safer than those on the streets climbing into cars with strangers.

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:11 AM
These types of laws should be labeled as unconstitutional. There is no victim with prostitution. It is just another excuse to takes away people's rights and create more jobs for cops, judges, lawyers and the like. Our country is seriously screwed up in many ways with these types of morality laws.

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:21 AM
reply to post by poet1b

While I agree of course with your premise, there are actually a lot of "Victimless Crimes" on the books that are necessary..

Speeding/Most traffic laws
Any regulatory laws

But this effort to control and legislate morals is as old as civilization and man has not learned yet. This just reinforces the old adage..

"The only thing man learns from history, is that man never learns from history"

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:26 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

Wow, whatever happened to the days when getting sex meant either going to a bar, a party, or to the street corner?

I don't drink, I don't generally go to parties, nor do I peruse the hookers on the corner, but this is a bit stupid and ridiculous if you ask me.

To advertise sexual services online is about as stupid as walking into a Police Department and propositioning the sale of narcotics to the Officer behind the desk.

Just plain stupid.

[edit on 9-5-2009 by SpartanKingLeonidas]

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:30 AM
reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas

While it may be stupid, the question is whether the government has the RIGHT to step in and demand a private business filter the content of the members.

As far as current laws go, while some I may not agree with, the burden is on the Law Enforcement community to prosecute the posters they perceive as violating whatever state and/or local ordinance is applicable.

This looks to me to be a clear violation of the 1st Amendment..

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:33 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

I agree with you semperfortis.

A business should be checking who advertises with it, not the Government.

They should have policies, procedures, and protocols in place to stop this type of activity, and obviously they are very lax with this, or it wouldn't happen.

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:51 AM
How can you have legislation without it involving morality? What behaviour is criminal or not will always depend on morality. Perhaps this thread is about the narrowing of morality to sexual matters which people of all political colours increasingly do.

As for prostitution being a "victimless crime" that demonstrates a lack of understanding of prostitution and associated matters. Very few prostitutes wake up one morning and decide to willingly sell their body for sex - they are often victims of gangs, pimps, abuse, inequality, etc.

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:53 AM
It's posts like this from you semp that continue to earn my utmost respect for officers like you. Although you may not agree with the morals behind it, your understanding of your role in the prosecution of these things, and your own self-imposed restraint is the stuff worthy of high office. I have no doubt you will achieve that one day, if you haven't already.

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