Need advice to go go through this horror : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am mostly what you call a amatrur fine art photography. I have a day job and in my spare time I do 8x10, mostly B&W landscapes and still life with pyro and contact print them. About a few months ago, maybe under the influence or inspiration of Sally Mann and Jocks Sturges, I took a few snap shots with my hassy of my children(a 8 yr old boy and a 7 yr old girl)unclothed in the bathtub. I thought they were innocent pictures and took it to a local lab to process it(I only process my 8x10s)last week. Detectives showed up in my house yesterday morning with these "disturbing" pictures, searched the house, took my computer and a social service lady showed up in the afternoon. I am not allowed to see my kids and had to stay in a hotel last night. I am waiting for their words now. No clue what is going to happen. I did not know child nudity = child porno which I think they are investigating. I came into this country 12 yrs ago and never come to something like this. Do I need a lawyer? Any similar experience and advice?

-- hugo Zhang (, November 20, 2001


Ouch. I saw an episode of 60 Minutes a few weeks ago that dealt with this issue. Perhaps you could contact the producers of the show and get in touch with some of the other people in your situation. I believe at least one of them is suing Wal-Mart (where he got his prints made). In any case, I think a lawyer is in order -- this sounds pretty serious.

-- David Leblanc (, November 20, 2001.

has anything similar happened - yes see:

as well as a web search for Sturges+FBI

Do you need a lawyer - most definately YES

You have msot likely become the victim of the "purian" police and a moronic (though probably also put in a stupid positiion by the State) Processing Lab employee. I think the above article sums it up well.

However - #1 - get a damn good lawyer

tim a

-- Tim Atherton (, November 20, 2001.

Good God, what has happened to America? It used to be that the "bathing kid" was a standard snapshot (usually used to embarrass the child later in life) that every parent had. Perhaps it still is, but obviously the person who saw yours grew up during this period of political correctness and has no sense of what these types of pictures mean to parents. I'll say it again: Good God.

Yes, get a lawyer, whether you need one or not. Any attourney worth his salt will be able to nip this thing in the bud. I fear, however, for your reputation amongst neighbors and friends. Please keep us informed, as I personally find this very disturbing.

-- Chad Jarvis (, November 20, 2001.

Sir: (1) Get a lawyer immediately. And contrary to the previous comment, "any decent lawyer" will not do. You need a reputable and experienced criminal defense attorney, someone with experience in First Amendment (free expression) issues. (2) Post no more inquiries on this service about this matter. Talk to no one but to your lawyer about this.... I cannot help you with this but I may be able to help you find an appropriate attorney. If you want that kind of help, email me separately and include your telephone number. -jeff buckels (albuquerque nm)

-- Jeff Buckels (, November 20, 2001.

I'm sorry to hear of your current plight. Photoprocessors are required by law to notify the local police of any "child nudity", however anyone might define it. I'm sure there are some legal nuances based on whatever state your in. Having been previously employed in the mental health field with kids and much contact with social workers, I would be equally (if not more)wary of the SW than the police. The police will invariably back up their opinions. This is not to say some are extremely good and qualified, but there can be underlying political issues at stake depending on your local system. Get a GOOD lawyer, preferably with experience in this arena. This is no issue to take lightly considering the current and potential future consequences to your children and yourself. Best of luck.

-- Scott Hamming (, November 20, 2001.

Thanks to the Opra, Montel, Rosie, Maury watching photo lab loser lady, you are in this perdicament.

Get a good lawyer.

-- Larry Sandt (, November 20, 2001.

Jeff, if you are going to QUOTE someone, please get it right.

"Any attourney worth his salt" does not equate to "any decent lawyer" (either within quotes or without). In fact, I've always believed that the phrase "worth his salt" means "good".

-- Chad Jarvis (, November 20, 2001.

It is true that the innocent "baby-bath" pics have been taken for decades, and are still taken every day by proud parents. I think what is at issue with the legal-eagles here has more to do with the ages of your children. The age at which the innocent naked-child pictures seem acceptable is quite a bit younger than 8 years old - like 7 years younger. Obviously, the best legal representation that you can get IS in order. You cannot afford to NOT afford it!

-- Matt O. (, November 20, 2001.

Good advice above -- get a good First Amendment lawyer. Geez -- standard kid shot is right -- up on my refrigerator is a photo circa 1966 with all four of the kids in my family (3 boys -- ages 9,8,and 5 and a girl age 2). Yeah, I always thought my parents were suspect -- what a crock. Don't know what the "family protection" types would think of that. Hugo is right -- nudity doesn't equal porno -- one of these days this country will get that.

-- Donald Brewster (, November 20, 2001.

Sadly, I know someone who last Friday that was just convicted of this -- somewhat different because he downloaded some files off the internet that was child porn but never looked at them (I know this guy -- he's not making it up). The Feds raided his house 2 years ago (busted in at 6am), he went to court and was convicted last week, and is now being held until 12/3 for sentencing. The Feds are cracking down really hard on this right now. Congress has deemed it a "violent crime" and it will be handled by a federal court.

Definitely, find a lawyer. They told this person that they are prosecuting particularly hard now "trying to make examples" of people.

-- Jennifer Waak (, November 20, 2001.

Hugo, everything's going to be O.K.

Boy, by getting married and having children in American society, a man acquires a HUGE amount of potential legal and financial liability - to say nothing of just more people in his life who will be dumbfounded with his hobby as a large format photographer.

After reading of your predicament Hugo, I am more convinced than ever that that $7,000 dollar 8x10 Ebony I lust after, and life long bachelor-hood are starting to look good to me. I feel for you.

Hugo, if indeed everything you did was on the up and up, God willing, the D.A will drop the case like a hot potatoe. Don't panic by throwing a wad of cash at some shark lawyer. Sit tight. If you have child porno on your computer or around house, disregard last sentence, seek lawyer. But of course, you don't so don't worry. You are a good person.

P.S., I love being an American, but we are not as "free" as we spout. An 19 member organized platoon of foreign nationals can execute a complex military operation simultaneously at 4 seperate venues in the continental U.S. They murder 5,000 people.

Yet, our law enforcement priority prefers nabbing "booty snappers" (AKA bored parents who want to do photographically to their children was was done to them). Go figure. Are we the fast-fading Roman Empire?

Hugo, PLEASE don't panic. Your kids will be back with you soon. Andre

-- Andre Noble (, November 20, 2001.

I strongly suspect that there's more to this story than Hugo is telling us. While employees of photo labs routinely contact the police whenever nude pictures of chilren appear in their labs, in the similar situations with which I'm familiar a couple innocent snapshots of one's children in a bathtub for the family album have caused no problem at all once the investigators see that nothing more was going on. I'm not so naive as to think that beaureacrats don't abuse their power but Hugo is telling us that his children have been removed from his custody, he's been evicted from his house, and he can't see his children (not to mention the search and seizure), all because of a couple innocent snapshots of his young kids in the bathtub. I really don't think so but Hugo, I'm a lawyer and if this is in fact all that's going on - i.e. if there were only a couple pictures, they were completely innocent, the children are your children, you don't have any child pornogrpahy sitting around, this kind of thing has never happened to you before, etc. etc., not only do you have nothing to fear from a criminal standpoint but you also have a potentially lucrative civil lawsuit against the governmental agencies involved.

-- Brian Ellis (, November 21, 2001.

I agree something smells fishy here. How did you post this message without your PC? Police usually show up with a warrant not pictures. Pictures are evidence and there whereabouts must be documented (OJ simpson case). If they had pictures and the district attorney felt there was enough for a case they would just arrest you and confiscate all of your computers (home and work) and let your lawyer worry about it. I agree with the previous post, we're not getting the whole story. But then again if this is true, which I find hard to believe, then get the best lawyer you can afford.

-- wdnagel (, November 21, 2001.

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