Our Stupid Judicial System

Film 20 seconds of a movie and then go to jail for 1 year.

Jhannet Sejas readily admits she used her digital camera last month in an Arlington theater to film about 20 seconds of the climax of the hit movie “Transformers.” She said she wanted to show the clip to her little brother and had no intention of selling it.

I tell ya, our judicial system does nothing but continues to fill me with confidence and admiration. After all, we have a woman who tried to cover up a rape committed by her husband getting only 3 years probation. And even more outrageous is that her husband…is serving only 15 months for raping a 15 year old girl. A female high school teacher who had sex with her underage student is going to serve 9 months. Causing injury to a 6 month old baby by shaking the child? Just 6 months.

Via David Harsanyi.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Law and the Courts, US Politics
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Bithead says:

    The bottom line here is, Steve, that we have a number of people who are over reliance on the letter of the law, without understanding the vision that was behind it. I’ve been saying for years.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    I agree with that Bithead. It seems to me that the problem with the legal system is that some of the people in the system are running amok. I think it is high time we re-visited the idea of immunity for prosecutors. I don’t think we should completely eliminate it, but certainly weakening so it doesn’t take something like the Duke Lacrosse fiasco to bring about some sort of discipline to the profession.

  3. Wyatt Earp says:

    Hell, abort a fetus, become a champion of the DNC!

  4. Grewgills says:

    It doesn’t look like either of you read the article carefully. The case is ridiculous, but is not a sign of stupid courts. She is facing 1yr and $2500 if she is convicted and receives the maximum sentence. This is not a done deal. She could end up getting a slap on the wrist or the full possible punishment. The decision to press charges was made by the theater not some out of control prosecutor. The law that allowed this was the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005. This law was passed by the Republican House and Senate and signed by Bush. Tell me again now who is responsible for onerous regulations.

  5. floyd says:

    “”Hell, abort a fetus, become a champion of the DNC!””
    Now I don’t care WHO you are,that there’s funny!!
    But I assume “DNC” is referring to the democrats and not the medical procedure!Right?

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Stupid judicial system or stupid copyright system?

    Whatever became of the principle of “a government of laws not of men”? If you don’t want the law enforced, repeal it. If you only want it enforced some of the time, how will you ensure that it’s enforced at the “right time”. Sounds like a formula for tyranny to me.

  7. Michael says:

    The most amazing part is that the act of videotaping 20 seconds of a movie is not a violation of copyright law. In fact, that right is almost explicitly given in the “fair use” section of copyright law.

    However, in criminal law, it is a separate offense to video tape all or part of a motion picture inside a movie theater, regardless of whether it is a violation of copyright or not.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Stupid judicial system or stupid copyright system?

    Both. As for the enforcement, the problem is that we appear to do just exactly what you are saying Dave, but with more serious crimes. When you rape a young girl it seems to me the punishment should be more than what you’d get if you video tape 20 seconds of a movie. There was recently a post over at the Volokh conspiracy where charges were brought against a man for raping a woman something like 25+ years ago and the main bit of evidence appears to have been nothing more than recovered memories. The whole thing looked like nothing more than an attempt to smear a person. Then there is the Genarlow Wilson case where it looks like the DA in that case is at least guilty of distributing child porn to shore up a case that is recieving severe criticism. And, Genarlow Wilson isn’t in prison for 15 months like the rapist above, but 10 years. The more you look at our judicial system the more you see some very ugly and some very serious warts, IMO.

  9. Kent says:

    I’m not going to get too worked up over a potential sentence of one year and $2500. When I was cited for rear-ending someone on a snowy road last winter, I was informed at arraignment that I could potentially get 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. The reality is that no such sentence is handed out unless the offender really works hard at hacking off the court. (In my case, the citation was dismissed.)

    I am inclined to get worked up over fifteen months for raping a teenager, or six months for nearly shaking a baby to death.

    I’ll speculate that part of the problem is that judges know that prisons are hellholes, and shrink from sending anyone there. I would like to see prison reform coupled with “truth in sentencing” where rapists and other violent criminals serve meaningfully long sentences in strictly controlled, but not inhumane, environments. I also recognize that, if we’re going to impose serious sentences, we should also take rather more care to ensure that convictions are soundly arrived at.

    And while I’m spouting off on things I’d like to have that I know I won’t get, I wish the MacArthur Foundation would give me a million-dollar genius grant, and Bill Gates would write me into his will.