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News Is the KY juvenile case confidentiality law unconstitutional?

  1. Jul 23, 2012 #1
    It's in the news. A 17-year-old posted the names of a couple of boys who sexually assaulted her. Now, she's being sued on the grounds that her doing so was a violation of a court order. In the comments section, I saw mention of a state law that says juvenile cases in the state are to be held with confidentiality.

    However, I don't believe she would be charged. There are two reasons I don't.

    1. In "Gitlow v. New York," the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that state laws regulating speech violate the First Amendment. So the law she's being charged for violating shouldn't even exist.
    2. The boys themselves posted pictures of the assault. Even if she didn't post their names, someone else could. I don't think it would be illegal for anyone other than the victim to do that.

    So I think that later on, the case against her will be thrown out and the law repealed. The judges who did so will laugh.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2012 #2


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    Please post the link to the article.
  4. Jul 23, 2012 #3
    Could be this.
  5. Jul 23, 2012 #4


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    Can Twitter Help Rape Victims Find Justice?

    Interesting issues.

    The court or other government officials definitely can't release the names.

    Technically, the press probably could if they found out the names from other source, but almost never release the names of minors. The press could probably win on First Amendment grounds, but that's not a fight most news organizations want to fight.

    Nowadays, the victims, themselves, can publicize the offenders and that's a gray area. I don't think they can publicize the court proceedings, since those are sealed to protect minors. I think they can talk about things that they witnessed that happened outside of court, such as the behavior itself, based on First Amendment rights.

    In other words, she can't refer to them as convicted sex offenders, but she can tell people what they did to her.

    I don't think the laws on protecting juvenile privacy need to be changed. I think the judge's order was just overly broad, and perhaps unenforceable depending on exactly what the victim said about the offenders. I guess we'll see what happens at the contempt hearing (or not, since there's a chance that that hearing will be closed, also, since it might reveal info about the offenders).

    There's another side to this, as well.

    With sealed records, a 'victim' could publicize the 'offender' even when the offender was found not guilty and who would know the true story (especially when being found 'not guilty' isn't quite the same as being innocent)?

    There's some dangers associated with just saying First Amendment rights allow her to say anything she wants about the boys. Of course, if what she said was knowingly untrue, I guess they could turn around and sue her for libel, but that's still not a great solution.

    But there's just something wrong with the idea that if she doesn't press charges, then she's free to talk about it, but if she does press charges, she can't.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  6. Jul 23, 2012 #5
    Okay, now I happen to be dad of two beautiful and great daughters, and at age 17 both were rather, if not, completely "innocent". They had no idea what hormonal effect their appearance had on the other gender and they surely would not be able to set up such traps. Really if something like that would have happened to them, the perpetrators would have been lucky only to have their names revealed.

    [/rant off]
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  7. Jul 23, 2012 #6


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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/contempt-motion-dropped-against-kentucky-teenage-girl-who-tweeted-names-of-her-assailants/2012/07/23/gJQAHl2z4W_story.html [Broken]

    It was a doubtful case, anyway. I agree with Jeff Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime:

    I could understand why the offenders didn't want their names publicized. Lacrosse players from a Catholic boys high school that charges over $11,000 tuition per year? They went to a good enough school and came from families well off enough that they were probably headed to some good colleges. This isn't exactly going to send them to the top of the list for admissions.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jul 23, 2012 #7
    It'd be nice if the Supreme Court made a decision regarding what crime victims have the right to say or publish under the First Amendment.

    Anyways, as the poster above me mentioned, the motion to penalize her for contempt of court (fyi, that's when a person violates a court order) was dropped.
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