What ought to be criminal, and yet isn’t

A Puerto Rican prosecutor decided the porn DVD an American man was carrying featured an underage performer based on pretty much his own judgement (plus that of compliant, prosecutor-friendly “experts” who made no effort to acquire legal proof of age), and decided to prosecute him — this despite the fact that actress in question, like all law-abiding adult performers in the U.S., had proof of age on file and easily acquirable. The only thing that saved the defendant? The performer’s unaccountable willingness to fly to San Juan, show her passport, and testify under oath.

Click through to Radley Balko’s site for more (totally SFW); it’s absolutely absurd. A man spent months incarcerated for child porn because the prosecutor was on a power trip. Said prosecutor will likely suffer no consequences even though the defense made it very, very clear that the woman in question was of age.

Instead, the prosecutor pushed ahead with child pornography charges against Simon-Timmerman, even after the man’s attorney was able to show that Fuentes had appeared in movies produced in the U.S., as well as other documentation that Fuentes was of legal age at the time the movie was made.

Hernandez-Vega still didn’t buy it. Her evidence that Fuentes was a minor was apparently so strong that she not only apparently felt she didn’t need to take 15 minutes to look up the proof of Fuentes’ age on file with the federal government, she could also dismiss the evidence produced by Simon-Timmerman’s attorney that his client hadn’t broken any law — all while keeping Simon-Timmerman locked up for months.

And what was that evidence? “Expert” testimony. At trial, Hernandez-Vega called Alek Pacheco, A U.S. Customs agent and self-described expert in child pornography who concluded (presumably after viewing the video several times) that Fuentes was “13 or 14” years of age.

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