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May 28, 2009


Handley Plea Post-Game: They Won

I've done a terrible job this week keeping people up to date on the various interesting threads spiraling from the decision last week by manga collector Christopher Handley to accept a plea bargain regarding a pair of obscenity-related charges he was facing. Heidi MacDonald's post provides a fine contextual summary surrounding statements made by expert Matt Thorn regarding his own peripheral involvement in the case. This Wired article provides an even better summary of events taking another step back and covering the whole thing. Plus it features quotes from at least one of the important principals.

Although there are key issues involved yet to be unpacked, primarily the exact nature if not the exact comics involved here, I think the key is this statement, from the Wired article, from Handley lawyer Eric Chase: "Chase says he recommended the plea agreement to his client because he didn’t think he could convince a jury to acquit him once they’d seen the images in question." I don't know whether to be furious at the lawyer for pressuring his client into a plea based on an estimate of his own skills to try the case given that he had access to consultants who would throw themselves off a building to stress a case like this can be won, curious as to what the hell Handley was facing that was worse than a 15-year potential jail sentence if the charges had been fought, or just generally dismayed that what should be the fundamental right to spend our private team reading whatever the heck we want that doesn't harm people in its creation might be decided through decisions like this one.

Or all three. Probably all three.
 
posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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