Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Little Freedom For Love?

From United States v. Reeves, decided last week by the Second Circuit:

"This appeal requires us to consider the validity of a condition of supervised release [following a prison term for possessing child pornography] that obligated Reeves, upon entry into a “significant romantic relationship,” to notify the United States Probation Department and to inform the other party to the relationship of his conviction. We conclude that the condition is unduly vague and not “reasonably necessary” to achieve the objectives of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)....

"We easily conclude that people of common intelligence (or, for that matter, of high intelligence) would find it impossible to agree on the proper application of a release condition triggered by entry into a “significant romantic relationship.” What makes a relationship “romantic,” let alone “significant” in its romantic depth, can be the subject of endless debate that varies across generations, regions, and genders. For some, it would involve the exchange of gifts such as flowers or chocolates; for others, it would depend on acts of physical intimacy; and for still others, all of these elements could be present yet the relationship, without a promise of exclusivity, would not be “significant.” The history of romance is replete with precisely these blurred lines and misunderstandings. See, e.g., Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Marriage of Figaro (1786); Jane Austen, Mansfield Park (Thomas Egerton, 1814); When Harry Met Sally (Columbia Pictures 1989); He’s Just Not That Into You (Flower Films 2009)."

Hat Tip: Simple Justice

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