Are YouTube Performers Being Unjustly Criminally Prosecuted?

Are YouTube Performers Being Unjustly Criminally Prosecuted?

Criminal trial attorney and former prosecutor David T. Schlendorf gives an exclusive interview to ReelSEO on the criminal case of Evan Emory, the 21-year old West Michigan college student being tried in court with manufacturing child abusive material and posting it on YouTube. Schlendorf said that Emory's actions do not fall under any example of child pornography, either on the Federal or State level.

Evan Emory was formally charged yesterday by the Muskegon County Prosecutor's office with one count of criminal child sexual abuse activity and abusive material, under Michigan's State Law on child pornography. You can read about our full coverage on this case at ReelSEO's Video and the Law column.

Evan Emory Criminal Case "A Mischarge," Says Former Prosecutor

David T. Schlendorf is a certified criminal trial attorney with a family law practice, and former prosecutor in the state of New Jersey. He has both prosecuted and defended cases involving child pornography. Schlendorf reviewed the full excerpt of the Michigan penal code referred to above, and shared his opinion on the case with me via email:

The section under which Mr. Emory is charged deals with the production of child pornography.  In my opinion Mr. Emory is clearly mischarged. There is nothing in the information you have provided to me to indicate that he produced anything that could be considered child pornography.”

Here are some excerpts of an earlier phone interview I had with attorney Schlendorf about this case:

I handle these type of cases all over the country. It's not [child pornography]. The district attorney there is wrong.”

"Child pornography has to be the depiction of a child engaged in a... I mean, I can pull out the federal code and read it to you, but it's been adopted by almost every state where it has to be children involved in sex, the simulation of sex, nudity for the purposes of sexual arousal – it's like 15 different categories...”

"This is like the U.S. Supreme Court case, where it used to be that if you made a digital image of a kid having sex; they used to say that was child pornography, and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it. There's no crime. It's disgusting, but it's not a crime.”

"Being stupid is not a crime. I've got 4 kids, and I would myself think, what an asshole. I don't find it funny. But he didn't commit a crime.”

Are Political Motives Preventing a Resolution in This Case?

"This case is utter bullshit. It's some DA trying to make a name for himself." Said Schlendorf.

Are YouTube Performers Being Unjustly Criminally Prosecuted?

Tony Tague, Prosecutor and Chief Law Enforcement Officer for Michigan's Muskegon County

I'm a former prosecutor myself. I dealt with the U.S. Attorney frequently on issues like this… This is something where cooler heads need to prevail; and make a public apology, and this whole thing should go away; because this is just stupid.”

"This case should be one-and-done. A very quiet meeting should be requested with the deputy's first assistant district attorney in that county in Michigan; then a motion should be filed if that meeting doesn't result in a dismissal of the charges; and the case should be over." Said Schlendorf.

Evan Emory gave a public apology last week in an exclusive interview with the Muskegon Chronicle, with his attorney present. The Muskegon District Attorney's office proceeded with filing formal criminal charges of child pornography against Emory.

A movement was announced today to recall Tony Tague, The Muskegon County prosecutor who charged Emory. If convicted, Emory faces up to 20 years in prison and registration as a sex offender.

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About the Author -
Grant Crowell is a trusted content provider in the online marketing space. Grant's expertise includes social media and video optimization, video SEO, usability, how-to's and tips, legal issues, and ethics with online video.
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