Fast Exit > 0

C. A. Goldberg PLLC

CALIFORNIA SETS GOLD STANDARD WITH ITS REVENGE PORN LAW 3.0

September 11, 2015

Earlier this week week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 676 into law. The law is California’s third law addressing the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images (aka revenge porn). Meanwhile mold grows in Albany on Ed Braunstein –D’s languishing revenge porn, A08214-A. Day after day this firm is contacted by desperate New Yorkers whose sexual privacy was invaded by people distributing their images without consent.

To date, 25 states, plus DC now criminalize revenge porn.

The new law in California adds a clause to its pre-existing revenge porn (647(j)) statute which empowers judges to order the destruction of intimate images and data storage media containing the images.  This is a big deal. Even in states where revenge porn is illegal, judges don’t necessarily have the tools to stop the offender from continuing to possess the images. Although judges may be able to issue a warrant for the device itself, many states require that the crime be classified as a felony for a warrant to be issued. Yet, many revenge porn laws are not classified as such.

California has been a star in treating revenge porn seriously. Not only does it actually use its law, but it sees it as an evolving body. This is ear-to-the-ground mentality of California lawmakers, driven by Attorney General Kamala Harris, is evidenced by the three evolutions of its revenge porn statute. When California’s law was harshly criticized for being too narrow and not covering selfies, it corrected that and created a civil cause of action.   While some states, ahem New York, can’t get a law passed at all, California’s is on its third permutation.

Fueled by Harris, California is a national model on how to prioritize the fight to end revenge porn. In California, the laws are enforced, prosecutions happen, law enforcers are trained, and cyberforensic tools are adequate. And with this new law, it is stopping perpetrators from hoarding the intimate images.

It is a shame that New York and 24 other states lack even a rudimentary revenge porn law.  The last legislative session in Albany ended without movement of Ed Braunstein – D’s bill moving forward. It must become a priority.