Christopher Handley and me (Edited)

Yes, I’m still alive. For what it’s worth. Back when I started this blog, some kind soul raved about the number of images and said s/he hoped I didn’t end up suffering “blog burnout.” Well, I did. Until I find a much, much easier way to get images from the printed page to this page, I’m afraid there just won’t be as many images as I was uploading before.

So what brings me back from the Land of the Lost? The Christopher Handley case. To make a long story short: Handley was charged in May 2007 “with receipt of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children”; The visual representations were manga; The few court documents currently available make it clear that “There is no dispute that the images at issue in this case do not involve real children but instead depict cartoons of children”; on May 20 of this year, Handley “pleaded guilty [...] in Des Moines, Iowa, to possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material.”

For more detailed information on what actually happened and what it might mean, I recommend you read:

Any number of people have written better commentary on the case than I could, so I would like instead to describe my own very peripheral involvement in the case.

For legal reasons, I have been asked to remove the correspondence I had posted earlier. I apologize for the trouble.

I have never met Mr. Handley, and know nothing about him as a person, other than the image painted for me by his loving mother. But whether I would like him or not, or think he is a “nice guy” or not, is irrelevant. It’s also irrelevant that I personally find lolicon manga, and a lot of other hentai manga, to be offensive and disturbing. As others have pointed out, to support free expression is not just to defend expression you like, but rather to defend expression you despise.

The chilling bottom line is that an American may very well go to prison for acquiring and looking at drawings of characters who do not actually exist.

  1. Hayami’s avatar

    Thank you for sharing this, Matt!
    Also thank you for supporting Christopher and freedom of speech!

  2. Ed Sizemore’s avatar

    Matt,

    I’m sorry that you and others didn’t a chance to be witnesses for the defense. Like you, my prayers and thoughts go out to Chris and his family. I hope justice and common sense can somehow prevail in all this.

  3. Gilles Poitras’s avatar

    Matt:

    Thank you for this posting.

    I too was in contact with the defense team as a possible witness and have been following this case from almost the beginning.

    When the news first broke many assumed this was about loli porn, when in fact much of the case apparently involved material not that different than would be on most fans shelves, that is involving drawings of characters that looked like they could be under 18.

  4. Lawrence A. Stanley’s avatar

    The most depressing part of the case is that Handley (a) pleaded guilty to POSSESSION, which the court already determined was UNCONSTITUTIONAL (only the receipt of manga charges were sustained on the motion to dismiss), and (b) waived all rights to appeal the issue. It makes no sense. If the judge had had any integrity as a lawyer, he would have refused to enter the plea on that basis.

  5. Tyciol’s avatar

    Dang I wanted to read those letters, ah well.

  6. Steve Nordquist’s avatar

    ‘Constitutionally criminalizing obscene materials’ is denial of secularism, and anathemic. How forward and invasive are those illustrations depicting hot water and stuff that lathers on hands?

    Does the prosecution prove inutility (to the odd factions of labor in the law) of each illustration? The game is afoot!

    More to the matter, (or the moral of Charady’s Daily Joke, ep. 1) if they realized that people are animals, there would be no problem. Or we would be sorely prosecuted among ourselves for possession of materials including the font ‘Papyrus’ and misuse of Dolby 6.1 technology.

    Throw the Tentacle Tank!

  7. Allan’s avatar

    The fact that no actual children were harmed, or were ever GOING to be harmed should make this case clear cut. But now a man is facing prison sentences, for WHAT? This justice system seriously needs to get its priorities straight.

  8. IdRatherNot’s avatar

    Now look here, I’m not quite sure how you came to the conclusion that our judicial system should prioritize the prosecution of real criminals and crime, such as you know armed robbery, murder, maybe even child molesters and the like.. BUT! YOU ARE WRONG!

    I mean, it’s obvious to any pro gov man that the prosecution of the crime of fantasy is far more important than actually pursuing crime taking place in reality. I have no doubt cashiers who have been robbed, and possibly beaten, take great solace in this execution of law, who was that masked man anyways? Oh well, doesn’t matter..

    (just in case some people missed it, that was indeed.. sarcasm, I think)

  9. MiHi’s avatar

    Well, it’s August 18th (sentencing day). Anyone know what it was? I can’t find anything on the local MSM about it at all.

  10. Matt’s avatar

    August 18 was the tentative date. It may have been pushed back. I don’t want to bother Handley’s mother with questions, because I know this must be a difficult time for her. I have Google Alerts set up that should catch any new (public) developments.

  11. Mihari’s avatar

    I haven’t found anything. I am also using google alerts and have not seen anything. I also tried searching for Iowa inmates and found nothing.

  12. Matt’s avatar

    I wrote to Christopher’s mother a couple of days, but I don’t want to put any pressure on her during what must be a very difficult time. If I hear back from her, I’ll report anything I’m allowed to here.

  13. Mihari’s avatar

    I think the best place to look would be the United States Department of Justice site.

    http://www.usdoj.gov

  14. Mihari’s avatar

    EDIT:

    Look for information here.
    United States Department of Justice – http://www.usdoj.gov

  15. Matt’s avatar

    Thanks, Mihari. Nothing new yet.

  16. Tyciol’s avatar

    I just gotta say I’m glad there are brave guys like Matt Thorne willing to address this travesty of free expression.

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