AZ Revenge Porn Law Put on Hold by Judge


PHOENIX (CN) – Enforcement of an Arizona law forbidding “revenge porn” is on hold after a constitutional challenge from bookstores and media.
     Antigone Books et al. sued Attorney General Tom Horne and the state’s county attorneys in September, on First Amendment grounds.
     U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton stayed proceedings and enforcement of the law on Nov. 26. Horne filed a joint motion to stay with the plaintiffs on Nov. 25.
     “This is a welcome development,” said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition. “Because of the state’s agreement and the court order, publishers, booksellers, librarians, photographers and others won’t have to worry about being charged with a felony for offering newsworthy and artistic images fully protected by the Constitution.”
     Bolton’s order gives the law’s sponsor, state Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, the opportunity to introduce modifications to the law to the Republican-led Legislature in January.
     “It would be a waste of Arizona taxpayers’ money to continue defending this unconstitutional statute,” said Dan Pochoda, lead counsel for the ACLU Foundation of Arizona, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the coalition. “We hope that the Legislature will embrace this opportunity to narrow the law so it reaches truly bad actors without infringing on protected First Amendment rights.”
     House Bill 2515 made it a crime to “intentionally disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise, or offer a photograph, videotape, film or digital recording of another person in a state of nudity or engaged in a sexual act if the person knows or should have known that the person depicted has not consented to the disclosure.”
     Violators faced up to 3 years and 9 months in prison.
     All of Arizona’s county attorneys except Yuma County have agreed not to prosecute until the Legislature has heard potential amendments to the law. The Yuma County attorney is expected to join the stipulation not to prosecute.

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