August 25, 2003

WHAT THEY’RE DOING INSTEAD OF CHASING TERRORISTS AND MURDERERS: Launching bogus kiddie-porn busts. Lame:

One of the jurors’ first actions was to send out a note suggesting that they didn’t understand the law under which Grady had been charged. And then, after considering more than a year’s worth of evidence — photos and testimony and thousands of pages of documents — the twelve jurors returned their verdict in less time than it takes to watch most movies.

James Grady, they agreed, was not guilty. Of anything.

A free man for the first time in almost twelve months, Grady had lunch with his lawyers and then went home to live in his mother’s basement.

In examining how this massive child-porn ring evaporated into thin air, one thing stands out: how little law-enforcement authorities understood the law.

But this is what happens when you chase headlines instead of, you know, criminals. As Jesse Walker notes:

It turns out the teens on Grady’s website all had their clothes on, and all their pictures were taken with both the models’ and their parents’ permission. It’s entirely possible that the photographer understood the law better than police and prosecutors did.

But will any of these guys lose their jobs, or suffer public humiliation?

They should.