Sunday, June 20, 2010

Did Alvin Greene Get Arrested for SIPWB (Sharing Internet Porn While Black)?

Don't worry, no porn will be shared in the telling of this story.

We're digging into the Alvin Greene story down in South Carolina, where the Democratic primary winner for U.S. Senate faces obscenity charges. That led us to this post on a Mother Jones article comment page:

"But how do you get arrested for showing a dirty picture to an 18 year old woman? Probably by showing it to a white woman in SC."

Alvin Greene, to his credit, has not made any public accusation of racism or racial motivation in connection with these felony obscenity charges. Still, reviewing some video makes us wonder what is really going on here, and if any law was actually broken.

Exhibit A: the accuser suggests that what really offended her was that he thought his pickup line would work on her.

Exhibit B: the accuser's mother comes across as a real helicopter parent. In another interview, it comes out that it was mom who called the campus cops.

Exhibit C: one of Alvin Greene's high school classmates describes him as a nice guy who was shy and reserved. (She also says she ran into him campaigning at the local Wal-Mart.)

Exhibit D: Alvin Greene displays his characteristic message discipline in one of his first interviews after his primary win. On the obscenity charges, all he will say is "no comment." But he also makes it clear he considers his experience with the criminal justice system unjust.

Exhibit E: the arrest report indicates that the incident was captured on security camera footage. That has not been released yet by the police or the University of South Carolina. What story would that tell?

Now I am not saying that the accuser or her mother are lying, and I can see how a college freshman could have been a bit freaked out by the experience (and perhaps freaked out big time in discussing the experience with her mother). But I don't see the crime that is being charged, and that goes on the police and prosecutors, not the accuser.

The South Carolina statute cited by police provides:

"(A) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to disseminate obscenity. A person disseminates obscenity within the meaning of this article if he: ... (3) publishes, exhibits, or otherwise makes available anything obscene to any group or individual ..."

That sounds pretty harsh, but unless it is illegal to sell or give another adult a Playboy or Penthouse in South Carolina (it is not) you're going to need to be caught watching something on the internet really hardcore to be justly prosecuted under this statute. Run of the mill pornography is just not illegal.

And what is the penalty for violating this statute: "A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both."

And that raises the intriguing question: Did Alvin Greene, unjustly accused of a heinous crime and facing the possibility of a $10,000 fine (not to mention 5 years in prison), realize that for that same $10,000 he could run for one of the highest public offices in the state of South Carolina?

Alvin Greene served in both the U.S. Airforce and the U.S. Army. The Alvin Greene army of one aims high!

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