Musician/Comedian Faces 20 Years In Jail For Silly Video No Different Than Done On TV & In Movies

from the that's-not-right dept

Slashdot points us to yet another example of overzealous prosecutors going after someone with felony charges for a joke (perhaps done in poor taste). In this case, it involves 21-year-old musician/comedian Evan Emory, who performed childrens’ songs in front of some elementary school kids. Later that day, after everyone else had left, he also performed and recorded another song with sexually explicit lyrics. He then cut the footage of the two songs together, to make it look like he was singing the explicit song to the kids. This is, admittedly, in extremely poor taste — but as the Slashdot post notes, it’s no different than what has been regularly done on various TV shows and in movies. The Slashdot post has even more examples, but those three all seem to be pretty “mainstream” and well-known examples of this tactic.

Yet, when Emory did it, he was arrested, charged with a felony for “manufacturing child sexual abusive material” and now faces 20 years in prison. Emory appears to be deeply remorseful, and notes that he obviously never intended to harm any kids, and searches of his house and computer showed no evidence of any actual child porn. But it doesn’t seem to have stopped prosecutors from their plans to charge him with this felony. The prosecutor seems to be willfully ignoring the intent of the video:


“If you insinuate that you want to have sex with young children in Muskegon County and put that in the Internet, you’ve got a problem with the law,” Tague said.

“As prosecutor of Muskegon County, I feel I have a strong obligation to vigorously defend all the children in our county. To insinuate on a tape that you want to perform perverted acts on children is clearly within the scope of the law with which Mr. Emory is charged.”

Except, of course, Emory did not insinuate he wanted to have sex with those kids. It was a (crass and tasteless) joke video. I’m all for law enforcement prosecuting real child abusers to the fullest extent possible under the law. But going after folks like Emory here seems to make a mockery of the law, and take away efforts from stopping those who actually do want to do harm to children.

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Comments on “Musician/Comedian Faces 20 Years In Jail For Silly Video No Different Than Done On TV & In Movies”

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59 Comments
Anonymous Postersays:

When I first read this story, I literally could not speak for a few minutes afterwards. That is how angry I was about this.

This is a flagrant attempt at destroying his First Amendment rights under the guise of the old “think of the children” boogeyman.

It’s just another reason why I stay far away from children in any situation whatsoever.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

> It’s just another reason why I stay far away from children in any situation whatsoever.

An interesting thought — I wonder if the over bearing righteous chest thumping of (many) breeders, and those who do inane things to “protect the children” will have an unintended effect of reducing the “demand” for things like parents (i.e. making more people consciously decide to remain childless), teachers, and other lifestyles/occupations that entail interaction with children?

Christophersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The fact is that children don’t need to be protected from sex. I had sex with adults as a child by 7 and knew what it was from 4 after reading my parents college health book.
That is my viewpoint of all children, coming from asking people when they first did ‘sexual’ things, even if they didn’t know that name for it.

I am all for going after people who physically force or drug children or anyone else into sex…. but this is going way too far and turning pedosexuals into a boogie man that society is using to replace the homosexual boogie man and heterosexual outside of marriage boogie man.

Simply put, if a child doesn’t want someone to touch them sexually, all they have to do to get that person to leave them alone is yell “DON’T TOUCH ME THERE!” and that person will back off and run away.

Another fact? Most ‘child sexual abuse’ in this country is better called consensual sexual touching/sex between adults and children.

vbevansays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wow, this comment really scares me…maybe you can argue kids know enough about sex to give consent in the late teens sometime and sure some before 18, but 7?

That’s really sad for you. The fact you don’t realize it is even worse. I really hope this is a troll. I mean, how do kids know to yell “DON’t TOUCH ME THERE” if they are being abused by their parents?

On another note. Is their a link to the video causing all the outrage? I can’t find it through the article links?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

This reminds me of a documentary I saw a long time ago about child rapists. One of the rapists was explaining that when he as his co-rapists molested the boys they had abducted, they were able to arouse them. They then used this as proof that the boys in fact wanted to be raped.

It’s very much like the other excuse rapists use about women wearing provocative clothing and thus wanting to be raped.

Very frightening.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It already has.
A highly respected woman who would be a terrific mother has chosen not to have children because she fears this crazy “protect the children” thing that causes normal behavior to become a crime because some pervert saw something perfectly innocent and interpreted it from his own distorted perspective.
Essentially, because parents now go to jail for non-criminal behavior like bad housekeeping, or because a wily two year old slips out of the house in his nightwear, or because someone makes a joke, she is afraid to start a family.
She is intelligent, hard working, healthy, and responsible, but her genes will be lost. Will it eventually turn out that only the irresponsible breed?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

From what I’ve seen (anecdotal evidence at best) the poorer/less well educated have tons more children than professional, well educated, well informed individuals. My personal theory is that is the cause of stupid laws being passed to ‘protect the children’. The uneducated don’t know how to protect their own children, and the well educated don’t have as many to protect.

Note: I come from an uneducated ‘poor’ family. I love my family, but they tend to remind me of the Clampetts. All is not lost, but we do seem to be filling the gene pool with toxic sludge.

freaksays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Eh all hope ain’t lost.

Stupid people die more often, remember? That’s what survival of the fittest is about . . . smart people might breed less often, but they have a higher rate of survival. And the higher rate of survival actually matters more than the rate of breeding because stupid people don’t always produce stupid kids, (They might be stupid due to circumstance, ie: less education, mutations can occur, the mixing of genes can produce a smart child, recessive genes can surface, etc. etc.).

. . . it’s just a pet peeve of mine that people sometimes use an incomplete idea of evolution to justify eugenics.
And I know that’s not what you were doing, but the first step was there, (the incomplete idea of evolution, assuming that the higher rate of breeding meant human kind was becoming stupider).

freaksays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just a couple of follow-up thoughts:
1) I don’t have the data, I don’t know if the breeding rate IS actually higher for ‘stupid people’.
2) I don’t know how to differentiate between ‘stupid people’ and ‘smart people’ except through over-generalization
3) I don’t know if ‘smart people’ survive more often, but if it is safe to assume stupid people breed more often, that’s probably also a sage assumption, or at least cogent.
4) I assume intelligence is genetic. This may not be true, or true enough to matter.
5) The difference between survival and breeding rates only needs to be very, very small, about a tenth of a percent effect, to have the necessary effect of evolving towards the higher survival percentage in a normal animal population. .1% is well within the noise caused by the randomness of the environment, AFAIK. Animals are effected by the environment much more than humans since they do not have, say, planes to fly in food from far away, or central heating to turn on when it gets cold. Or medicine.
6)Yes, within more strict definitions, the last paragraph doesn’t mean much. I’m not writing a scientific paper, just understand that, AFAIK, a very small difference will still trend the way I suggested it would. It would just take longer the less extreme it is.

Sorry, it just bothers me to leave i’s undotted and t’s uncrossed where I would expect them from other people.

Havocsays:

Becoming typical now

It is far worse than out of control, prosecutors trying new ‘expanded’ definitions of various laws to make a name for themselves, looking for re-election. None is so foolproof as ‘protecting the children’, because, win or lose, they always claim they were trying to protect the children. The sheep buy it. Worse, they re-elect them.
Past time to make frivolous prosecution a felony, prison time the only option, also making judges responsible for even trying these ‘expanded’ laws.
Maybe that’ll rein in some of this stupidity.

You just can't cure stupid...

Mr. Evan Emory is going to love either Jackson or Marquette Prison, because in the end, you just can’t cure stupid. Why do I say that, because he was stupid to think that ‘YouTube Celeb’ = ‘Old School Celeb’. This is not the age of Ted Nugent or Steven Tyler, where you had a legion of Record Execs and Lawyers shielding their ‘artists’ from the long arm of the law about actually sleeping with underage girls. It’s the ‘YouTube Age’, where you get to deal with all the day-to-day crap that goes along with being a ‘celebrity’.

Richardsays:

This subject has become a minefield

You can tell this ubject has become a mire of irrationality because people like Mike feel the need to write things like this:

I’m all for law enforcement prosecuting real child abusers to the fullest extent possible under the law. But …

Seriously – why do you feel the need to write this every time? Do you think people will believe that you are somehow in favour of paedophilia if you don’t?

It seems to me that political correctness has meant that criticising all kinds of activities that used to be regarded as immoral is now off limits – but of course we all agree about this one. Old fashioned adultery damages far more children – but of course too many of us are involved – whereas child porn is perpetrated by them.

There is a quote here somewhere (something about motes and beams and eyes) that a lot more people would do well to remember.

The Infamous Joesays:

Re: Re: This subject has become a minefield

Seriously – why do you feel the need to write this every time? Do you think people will believe that you are somehow in favour of paedophilia if you don’t?

You’re not new here, you should know the answer to this: That’s exactly what would happen. Hell, every time Mike says that arists need to learn that they can make more money giving away their music instead of locking it down and attacking “pirates”, he says that he is against piracy, yet how many times have you read someone accuse him of being “pro-copyright infringement” or of “fowarding the pirate agenda”?

Imagine if Mike didn’t clearly state those things every time. Yikes.

Chargonesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This subject has become a minefield

that people are stupid?

seriously, when coffee cups need a warning that their contents may be hot, (just off the top of my head… there are far more absurd warning labels out there) and fanfiction needs lables saying that the author does not own the copyright on the characters there in (despite being hosted on a site containing nothing but fanfiction), and one can sue and Win based on the lack of such things, of Course such disclaimers are going to become necessary…

and that’s before even taking into account that most of the people who respond to techdirt posts and disagree with them fail at reading comprehension and just love to latch onto exactly that sort of idea.

(admitting there is a problem, admitting that the current attempts at solution don’t work, and proposing a way of turning the problem into an advantage/a different way to solve it is not the same thing as supporting the problem… or it’s cause.)

Anonymoussays:

“Seriously – why do you feel the need to write this every time? Do you think people will believe that you are somehow in favour of paedophilia if you don’t?”

You know why! Because he would get accused of it if he didn’t as would you or me or anyone else.

You are quite correct of course, anytime a situation occurs,
such as muslims being expected to start any conversation about islam in the west with a disclaimer against fundamentalists etc, then it is a distraction and a weakening of the point actually under discussion.

P3T3R5ONsays:

Relivent perhaps

People say “I’m going to kill you” all the time behind peoples backs and to their face too… yet they don’t ever do it. Would somebody be arrested for saying that in Muskegon County? Cause that’s what this sounds like according to the arrest of Evan.

He never said those words to the kids, the video makes it look like it but you can make a video or photos say or do just about anything. What if I release a video of me killing somebody that I actually didn’t kill?

TheStupidOnesays:

Criminal Acts

So let me get this straight, this guy did something perfectly legal (Performing age appropriate material for children) then did something else legal (Performed material not appropriate for children without children present) then edited it to appear to be something illegal (performing sexually explicit material to children) and he was charged with the crime he appeared to commit.

Apply this exact same idea to any movie or TV show that features a crime and suddenly all the actors are responsible for the murder, drugs, rape, theft, espionage, sabotage, and every other illegal activity their character commits.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Criminal Acts

Apply this exact same idea to any movie or TV show that features a crime and suddenly all the actors are responsible for the murder, drugs, rape, theft, espionage, sabotage, and every other illegal activity their character commits.

That’s why states like Michigan have no movie industry. They’d rather leave all that money to California and prosecute people that make videos they don’t like. You got money problems Michigan? Maybe you deserve it.

remember, prosecutors in the US are elected politicians

Tony Tague, the prosecutor quoted, was re-elected in 2008 and will have to win elections in the future if he wants to keep his job.

Prosecutors have strong incentives to keep their conviction rates high, and indeed Tague prides himself on his. From Tague’s own site:

“Citizens can rest assured that crime in the community is taken seriously and that law breakers are held responsible for their actions. As a result of this continuing ‘tough on crime’ stance, the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, on an annual basis, has one of the highest felony jury trial conviction rates in the state of Michigan.”

Tague must realize that he will not win this particular case. Given his high conviction rate, that makes this case an aberration. However, once one remembers that Tague is a politician elected to office, his actions are easily understood. Like Cuccinelli, Tague doesn’t mind losing witch hunt cases – the positive publicity far outweighs the strike on his record.

Election of prosecutors has interesting effects. Incidentally, from a Norwegian perspective, electing prosecutors seems rather crazy and bound to politicize the justice system. In Norway, police attorneys advocate for the state in all but the most serious cases which are handled by a special office – and NOT by politicians seeking to generate attention for their next election campaign. The American justice system is certainly unique.

Jaysays:

Re: Re: remember, prosecutors in the US are elected politicians

Ya know… I never really thought about that part…

How can we take away the incentive of high conviction ratings may just make our justice system side more with normalcy than the inane witch hunts that seem to occur from the elected office.

You know that win or lose this case, Emory’s name will be in shambles, “justice” has prevailed, and the state has gotten ever more powerful in silencing speech…

Almost Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: remember, prosecutors in the US are elected politicians

Yep, that’s it in a nutshell. The more “sexual offenders” he can prosecute, then theoretically the better he’ll look to his constituency. And in point of fact, scratch that ‘theoretically’, the sheep will look at the numbers never caring about the underlying details.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Did he get authorization from the parents?

That’s not even kind of true, and is a dangerous idea to spread around. Just because you’re not charging for something DOES NOT mean you’re free and clear to do whatever you want. “Commercial Profit” is only a weighted factor, and it is certainly not the totality of the litmus test.

For instance, slander and libel are often committed without a profit-motive, often using the likenesses of individuals, yet are still illegal.

And in a day and age where things are uploaded to Youtube, where they display ads, it means that there is no longer anything such as a non-commercial video/song/etc. Youtube profits, at the very least. (The musician obviously profits from the publicity, as well)

Anonymoussays:

“But going after folks like Emory here seems to make a mockery of the law”

Wait.. you mean the law is not a mockery itself? Or maybe you mean it mocks the American people? Either way, hilarious…

We keep hearing (and Mike posting) how people confuse the actions for the US govt. with the actions of the people… doesn’t the people vote for their govt? Then allow this to happen? Then bitch at it? I love it. Assured drama every time. Priceless.

Anonymous Cowardsays:

Everyone seems to be skating over what brought this to light. Some parent(s) were made aware of the video and then started screaming how something had to be done to protect their children.

Elected official vs Parents/Voters who demand that something be done. He is appeasing them, and who cares if its a mockery of the law, the parents get exactly what they want. They ruin this guys life for having dared make a dumb, but legal, video that made them angry.

I would cordially invite the prosecutor to get warrants for the parents homes and computers. They more than likely are guilty of real crimes. Letting your child surf the web without monitoring them, leaving sexually explicit images where a child can access them, and I am sure a bunch of other things they don’t consider illegal but that are. If you want to protect the children then you need to use that double edged sword both ways.

They searched his home looking for pedophile trophies (like underwear) and found none, how soon until they look again and magically find some? If kids underwear in the home is all it takes to tag someone as a pedophile aren’t these parents screwed?

Just because your offended by something and have a child does not give you magical rights to special justice. If your kid saw this video, is it not your fault for not making sure your child was supervised on the internet where the pedophiles just pop out of the end of a wire directly into your home?

Jadesays:

I work at a school and the rules for “To protect the schools reputation from staff being accused of indecent dealings with children” is 3 times longer than “To protect the children” – Note the first rules are “schools reputation” rather than the actual staff member. They are so full of shit in a major way and this is a perfect example. The bullshit rules actually put kids in a lot of danger.

Rick Berlinsays:

Prosecutor won't learn

Our DA here in Muskegon is nicknamed “TV Tony”. He loves the publicity that flows in child porn cases.

He may have oversteped himself again. In 2009 he had a conviction overturned in a case of a sleazy elected official was caught with some 100,000 collected images burned onto CDs. TV Tony went after him full force, as a producer of kiddie porn, despite the lack of evidence the he in anyway was producing or distributing child porn. It fell on the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn this overly broad interpretation of the law that he was able to sell to the jury.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/07/michigan_supreme_court_rules_f.html

I predict Tony Tague will plea bargin this case down, or face another slap in the face from the Michigan Supremes.

btr1701says:

Selective Prosecution

I have to agree that this seems like a bit of selective prosecution. The article quotes the Muskegon County Prosecutor saying that the law also has a provision for those “who make it appear that the children were actually abused.”

Well, that would cover a whole heck of a lot of Hollywood movies. “Taxi Driver” anyone? Or there was that more recent one with that creepy little child actress Dakota Fanning who played a kid who was raped.

If those aren’t examples of “making it appear as if children were actually abused”, I’m not sure what is.

But those are big corporations with lots of money and lawyers. This guy is a nobody without the resources to fight back. And therein lies the difference.

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