Sheriff Grady Judd and his crew is at it again. Now they’ve turned their sites on some hapless gas station owner in Dundee, Florida, for allegedly selling some girly videos. Little did she know that the all powerful local government knew better than her what kind of entertainment the delicate citizenry of Polk County could tolerate. So now Minakashiben Patel sits in jail, apparently on a no-bond status, facing charges of obscenity. This isn’t the first time that this Central Florida jurisdiction has tried to enforce its version of “decency” on its citizens. The following article gives a pretty good history of Sheriff Judd’s efforts to promote Christian values in Polk County government: http://orlandoweekly.com/news/church-and-state-1.1109454. The First Amendment never stopped a skilled politician like Grady Judd, however. He takes pandering to a new level, and destroys lives in the process. Fortunately, the First Amendment protects the New York Times the same way as a small gas station owner, when it comes to dissemination of free speech. We shall see how this case plays out, but their random obscenity prosecutions are certainly a threat to civil liberty, and the whole effort demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the changing societal mores in this country. Just look at how fast 50 Shades of Grey flew off the shelves. In year 2013, I think we can tolerate the sale of a few adult films sold in a local gas station.
Some good news on the constitutional rights front; the U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled a school official’s strip search of a public school student unconstitutional in violation of the student’s reasonable expectation of privacy guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment. The opinion can be accessed here:
While school officials had sufficient cause to search outside the student’s clothing, she had a reasonable expectation of privacy that precluded the officials from demanding that she expose her pelvic area by pulling back her underwear. There was no indication that the student was hiding the suspected drugs in her underwear, thus preventing such an intrusive search in that location. Score one for privacy rights. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the opinion was joined by the conservatives, including Scalia, Roberts and Alito. Thomas joined in the judgment but filed a dissenting opinion. This is an important case and the Law of Sex reserves full editorial comment until the opinions can be fully scrutinized.