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Old 01-10-2004, 07:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Behold, the Nanny State?

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Quote:
Driver is arrested over car art
Police seize boyfriend's auto with nude dancer painted on it.


By Tom Spalding
tom.spalding@indystar.com
January 10, 2004


An Indianapolis woman was arrested and her boyfriend's vintage Buick impounded because an image of a naked exotic dancer painted on it was visible to children.

The car's owner said Friday the image is art. Police say it is obscene.

Erica Meredith, 25, was charged Thursday with disseminating matter harmful to minors, a Class D felony, after police saw the painting when she was stopped for driving the 1976 Buick with a broken taillight.

In his report, the arresting officer wrote that the painting on the flat part of the trunk, "applying contemporary standards, displays a theme which appeals to the prurient interest of sex."

The painting shows a naked woman hanging on to a pole as two men, one smoking a cigar, watch from the audience. Her breasts and pubic area are visible.

Meredith said she was returning home with her children about 5 p.m. Thursday, when she was stopped by police in front of her home in the 4100 block of North Grand Avenue.

"He pulled me over for a taillight," she said. "Then he noticed there was a naked woman on the back of the car."

She said the officer consulted with his supervisor and then arrested her.

"The officer asked me if that was me. 'Is that your profession?' " said Meredith, who is a customer service representative for a Castleton business.

Police said the woman's children and children who attend Indianapolis Public School 83 could possibly see the mural. The woman lives near the school.

She also was charged with driving with a suspended license and exhibition of obscene material, both misdemeanors. She was taken to the Arrestee Processing Center and released early Friday morning without having to pay bond.

The Marion County prosecutor's office had not decided Friday how to proceed. An initial hearing is set for Tuesday.

Meredith said Friday the car is registered to her, but it belongs to her boyfriend, Keyon Johnson. She said she didn't like the image when he had it painted last summer.

Indiana Civil Liberties Union Attorney Ken Falk saw a photograph of the painting and called it "very graphic."

He agrees the case could test Indiana statutes that restrict the exhibition of obscene matter and dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

"The question is, is this constitutionally protected expression, and is it trumped by the interest we have in protecting minors?" Falk said. "Part of that might depend on Indiana law."

Indianapolis Police Department Sgt. Steve Staletovich said an officer has a right to apply "contemporary community standards" if he believes the public, especially children, could be offended.

Meredith and Johnson said the car usually sits locked in a garage because its primary use is to make an impression at sport shows and major cultural events.

He said he spent more than $3,000 on the car's sound system, rims and custom paint job.

Meredith said her own car's transmission is not working, so she used the vehicle Thursday for a few errands: to get an infant to the emergency room and then to pick up her 8-year-old daughter from school.

"She rushed the baby to the emergency room," said Johnson, who spoke to The Star and its newsgathering partner, WTHR (Channel 13). "She (the infant) was crying, and (Meredith) could not figure out what was wrong with her. From there she . . . picked up our other child from the after-school program."

"Now they want to put the D felony on a woman who has never been locked up before (and) works everyday," Johnson said, likening the car's mural to artwork such as a tattoo.

Patrolman Kevin Kern, who made the arrest, could not be reached for comment.
Do we, in the US, need to be protected -- need to have our children protected -- from images painted onto a car? Is seeing a painting of a nude woman really going to harm a child, and something which should result in jail-time? I think not.
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Old 01-10-2004, 07:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I hope this gets settled in a court room. It is silly.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
follower of the child's crusade?
 
I wouldnt recomend prison time in this case. The car should be re-sprayed at the owners cost, and let that be an end to it.

I do think there is a problem with displaying pornographic material in public - this person may not have had it painted this way because of some thrill they get out of children seeing it, I am guessing they just did it because they are an idiot.

If a school teacher was showing kids at elementary school a copy of Playboy, this would be considered a serious crime and that teacher would be classified as a sex offender.

Intent, and the end product, do need to be considered.

But yes, in my opinion the state does have the right to prevent people from publically displaying images of naked people, especially but not only, displaying them to children.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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she should see some jail time-for driving on a suspended licensce.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ok, well how about this, I was driving on a NJ highway when I pulled behind a 20 foot box truck.

On the back and sides were huge photos of various stages of aborted fetuses, very graphic.

Is this offensive?
My 13 year old daughter was very repulsed by the images.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
follower of the child's crusade?
 
Quote:
Originally posted by reconmike
Ok, well how about this, I was driving on a NJ highway when I pulled behind a 20 foot box truck.

On the back and sides were huge photos of various stages of aborted fetuses, very graphic.

Is this offensive?
My 13 year old daughter was very repulsed by the images.
The trailer should have been impounded and destroyed.

The owner of the trailer may face criminal charges for outraging public decency. if you were being paid to do it I do not believe you necessarily should be charged.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by reconmike
My 13 year old daughter was very repulsed by the images.
You and your daughter do not have the right to not be repulsed.
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by seretogis
You and your daughter do not have the right to not be repulsed.
The freedom not to be repulsed by offensive and hateful speech is as important as the freedom of speech.

In America, most recently, the whole Kobe rape thing has shown the weakness of the slavish believe that the freedom of speech is everything - the media is allowed to reveal the identity and harass a potential rape victim, all in the name of "free speech"

The freedom of speech should not apply to all - we should not be free to harass by speech or communication, to incite violence, to incite gross prejudice against any ethnic or societal group, or to attempt to influance criminal trials by "free speech"

The freedom of political ideoligy is important, but so is the freedom of ordinary people not to be exposed to offensive material.

A truck showing aborted fetus' is an outrage of public decency, and the person resposnible for it will be prosecuted as such in any decent and civilised society
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Old 01-10-2004, 08:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
follower of the child's crusade?
 
apologies also to reconmike, I misread your first post. The person who is responsible for the truck carrying that banner should be serving 2 years in prison.
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hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
The freedom not to be repulsed by offensive and hateful speech is as important as the freedom of speech.

In America, most recently, the whole Kobe rape thing has shown the weakness of the slavish believe that the freedom of speech is everything - the media is allowed to reveal the identity and harass a potential rape victim, all in the name of "free speech"

The freedom of speech should not apply to all - we should not be free to harass by speech or communication, to incite violence, to incite gross prejudice against any ethnic or societal group, or to attempt to influance criminal trials by "free speech"

The freedom of political ideoligy is important, but so is the freedom of ordinary people not to be exposed to offensive material.

A truck showing aborted fetus' is an outrage of public decency, and the person resposnible for it will be prosecuted as such in any decent and civilised society
But who is to decide a society's standard of "public decency?" Everyone has their own level of what they find repulsive and it would be difficult to define a society's level of consensus. Plus by allowing for restriction on public speech on the basis of "public decency" you give government an easy way to justify censorship of political discourse by labeling your beliefs "hateful."

I think the best way to limit true hate is to let the fools say what they want and expose themselves for what they are.

Regarding displays of naked women and aborted fetuses on motor vehicles, I recognize that the state has some say in the specifications of your car as a condition for using public roads, and I think that if what you have on your car is clearly going to distract a lot of other drivers, the state can legitimately say it shouldn't be there, for the sake of safety. I do recognize that there is a gray area to this (what about billboards, etc.) but I think restricting distracting car art falls into the same domain that prevents people from watching TV when they drive.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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the law decides what is hate speech and should be criminalised. for example, the KKK should not be an existing organisation - a group that is specifically dedicated to killing or driving out a whole portion of the population of a country should not be allowed to exist or preach ideas that are hateful.

Sometimes there are grey areas, but on the whole the sort of things we want to ban are obvious, they are the things that offend the decency of nearly all of he people.
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hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain
without being uncovered."

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Old 01-10-2004, 09:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: VA
Quote:
Originally posted by seretogis
You and your daughter do not have the right to not be repulsed.
*scratches head*

let's see.... double negative.... equals a positive.... okay... so it means:

You and your daughter do have the right to be repulsed.

Ahhh.... Indeed they do.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:37 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
The freedom not to be repulsed by offensive and hateful speech is as important as the freedom of speech.


Your particular Marxist ideals aside, we believe differently on this side of the pond and I for one, am glad.
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Old 01-10-2004, 09:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparhawk
*scratches head*

let's see.... double negative.... equals a positive.... okay... so it means:

You and your daughter do have the right to be repulsed.

Ahhh.... Indeed they do.
Just an FYI,

The negatives had different objects, hence do not constitute a double negative.
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Old 01-10-2004, 11:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Maybe the offender just needs to attend a few weeks (years) in a "re-education camp." Counter-revolutionaries are, afterall, merely true revolutionary comrades suffering from either ignorance or mental illness, no?
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Old 01-10-2004, 12:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I am talking about this case as it should be treated in the world that we live in - tow the truck, respray it, send the registered owner the bill... and just let it lie. I dont want to see the owner of this car thrown in prison and I dont see any value in doing that.
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Old 01-10-2004, 01:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by lordjeebus
But who is to decide a society's standard of "public decency?" Everyone has their own level of what they find repulsive and it would be difficult to define a society's level of consensus. Plus by allowing for restriction on public speech on the basis of "public decency" you give government an easy way to justify censorship of political discourse by labeling your beliefs "hateful.
I think the community should decide, as a whole, what is offensive to them.

Start asking people what is and what is not offensive to them. Most people in a given community are offended by similar things even while they disagree on the questionable things.

In this case, the cop wasn't being a prude and certainly wasn't setting some dangerous precedent. Images of naked women sliding down poles while men ogle them isn't something people want in their public sphere. They haven't wanted it for the past two hundred years. We don't let minors view the images on this site, which values the imagry of naked women in all forms. We don't allow it in our mass media.

If people want to see it, they know where they can go, no one's stopping them. If it's art, take it to a museum or exhibit where people can decide to go in. Why this belief that certain rights necessitate offending the community one lives in? It seems to me that an ounce of common sense should be in order--the rights we have were created for a particular end, they aren't ends in themeselves. People should stop thinking of their rights as ends in themselves and contemplate why some behavior is protected, otherwise the point of the right is weakened.

FYI, misdemeanors don't net prison time, so we can stop debating that point.
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Old 01-10-2004, 02:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by smooth
I think the community should decide, as a whole, what is offensive to them.

...

Why this belief that certain rights necessitate offending the community one lives in? It seems to me that an ounce of common sense should be in order--the rights we have were created for a particular end, they aren't ends in themeselves. People should stop thinking of their rights as ends in themselves and contemplate why some behavior is protected, otherwise the point of the right is weakened.

FYI, misdemeanors don't net prison time, so we can stop debating that point.
1. I think that if you're talking about standards of decency in a small community, this might be acceptable. In a community the size of a state or a nation, I don't think that the state should be imposing a standard of morality on everyone -- you're going to alienate too many people no matter how you do it, even if they are a "minority."

2. The thing with rights is that people don't agree about what their "particular ends" are. If the right to free speech were intended to be limited to free political speech or free nonhateful speech, I think it would have been articulated as such in the Constitution. I think that one does not have a fundamental right to go around without being offended, and although that would be nice, the dangers inherent in granting the state the right to impose morality through force (including the regulation of speech) does not justify such an offenseless society. I think that as long as one's speech or other mode of articulation does not cause real physical or economic harm (screaming fire in a theater, lying to defraud someone), what you say is your business and if others don't like it they can avoid you. The feeling of disgust does not reach this level of harm -- at least the level of disgust that any sound or image could provoke in an average individual.

3.
Quote:
Erica Meredith, 25, was charged Thursday with disseminating matter harmful to minors, a Class D felony, after police saw the painting when she was stopped for driving the 1976 Buick with a broken taillight.
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Old 01-10-2004, 03:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think the whole commnity of the nation can agree at least that showing pornography to school children shoukd be prevented.
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Old 01-10-2004, 03:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Good thing some of you guys wern't around to stop Michelangelo. Many of his paintings and sculptures contained nudity, including the ceiling of the sistine chapel. Now if the lady had a picture of naked people on the car that is one thing but it was a painting which classifies as art.
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Old 01-10-2004, 03:53 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Justice Potter Steward said: "I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it."

I haven't seen the car, but a nude woman on a pole, with two guys watching sounds like it...
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Old 01-10-2004, 10:05 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
I think the whole commnity of the nation can agree at least that showing pornography to school children should be prevented.
I agree. Parents should be the ones to decide what children see, not the government. When people violate the right of the parent to raise their kids by publicly displaying pornographic images, they should be required to remove those images.
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Old 01-11-2004, 03:15 PM   #23 (permalink)
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What if i get a titty-woman tattooed on my forearm? Should i then be subjected to arrest and possible incarceration, because some kid might look at my arm and be reminded of what boobies look like?
It is ridiculous that nudity is such an obscene thing in america. OMIGOD, BOOBIES!!! Any kid whose parents get the premium channels or E! can see that junk on TV every night. Much less that little fad known as the internet. There's always the shocked, "BUT, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!?!?!?" I think as far as auto-erotica(heh) the children will be fine. It's the prudishness of society we need to worry about.

I think the only obscenity here is the fact that a woman is being charged with a felony for having frontal nudity on her car. Its like arresting someone for swearing. I bet in the fifties you could get arrested for having a woman showing a little leg painted on your car. How rational does that sound?
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Old 01-11-2004, 03:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
What if i get a titty-woman tattooed on my forearm? Should i then be subjected to arrest and possible incarceration, because some kid might look at my arm and be reminded of what boobies look like?
LOL! Most definitely!
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:29 PM   #25 (permalink)
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people should not be allowed to have pornographic tattoo's.
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
Junkie
 
Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
people should not be allowed to have pornographic tattoo's.
People should be able to walk around naked if they want to. It's time we stop pretending that sex doesn't exist around our childern and bring it to the table and educate them properly about it. Perhaps then we wouldn't have problems with 12 year olds getting pragnet.
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Old 01-12-2004, 07:20 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Location: In the land of ice and snow.
Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
people should not be allowed to have pornographic tattoo's.
One man's porn is another man's song of solomon.

Somewhere there is someone who thinks like you who believes that someone who thinks like you shouldn't be allowed to express him/herself in public. What parts of you are "obscene"?
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