The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a state law does not allow for criminal prosecution of a Cherokee County man who texted to a woman an unsolicited photograph of his tattooed genitals.
In a unanimous opinion, the court handed a victory to Charles Lee Warren, who faced a felony charge and up to three years in prison. In October 2012, Warren texted a photo of his tattooed penis to a woman who complained to police, who then arrested Warren.
Warren was charged under a 1970 law that makes it a crime to send unsolicited material depicting nudity or sexual conduct unless the envelope or container of the material contains a warning of the contents in at least eight-point boldface type.
The court said that because of the way the law is written it cannot be applied in a case like Warren’s.
The prohibition applies to “tangible material that has a tangible envelope or container on which the required notice can be imprinted,” the opinion said. “This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the imprinted notice on the envelope or container must be in ‘eight-point boldface type’ and must say that the ‘container’ should be ‘returned’ to the sender if the addressee does not want to ‘open’ it. We thus conclude that the general prohibition of the statute does not apply to the text message that (Warren) sent in this case.”
The law, the ruling said, “does not criminalize his conduct.”