The Internet Is Publishing

There’s some question I have in my mind as to whether or not this guy would have been given the same sentence if he had had access to (or chosen to use) a lawyer.

The link above shows the CNN story about a guy who films himself doing stunts on his Yamaha motorcycle, and then posts it to YouTube, and … gets nailed in court for reckless driving.

Now, I can see how that’s enforceable, because, well, hell, the internet is a publishing medium after all. If you publish something for the world to see, you take responsibility for it whether you realize it or not.  But, see, even though they’re minor offenses, traffic violations are still criminal proceedings, and in criminal proceedings the burden of proof lies firmly on the accuser.

In defense of the poor sap, I would have argued down several of the counts of reckless driving and anything resembling speed. I mean, the cops as much admitted that it was impossible for them to determine the actual speeds of the person on the bike. Add to that the fact that it was within the digital realm, and the possibility that the video had been enhanced or altered somehow to exaggerate the actual speed of the driver and I think you’ve got a pretty good challenge to at least part of the charges as presented in the article.

Besides, you can’t just -ask- him, either. The Fifth Amendment holds sway, so there’s no way to put him on the stand unless he or his own counsel decide to let him take it. By *not* putting him on the stand, you’ve at least put the burden of proof squarely back upon the State. Forensic analysis of the video is expensive and time consuming to produce, and those are resources that the State can better use in the prosecution of actual criminal cases instead of clogging the courts. Motion for summary dismissal.

I should -so- go study law. At the very least it’ll inform me as to what’s doable, defendable, and what’s not. Maybe one of my readers will take a more educated, legally focused view of this and comment. Or not. *shrug* I still don’t think he deserved the full sentence he got. Although stupid is as stupid does, and while the actionability here is in question, I don’t think his intelligence is.

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