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Justices to decide whether adults can send sexually explicit images to certain teens

June 8, 2017

After oral arguments before the Indiana Supreme Court next week, the justices will decide if adults can send sexually explicit photos to 16- and 17-year-olds without breaking state law.

That question arises from the case of State of Indiana v. Sameer Girish Thakar, 29S02-1705-CR-284, in which Sameer Thakar was initially charged with Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors after allegedly sending photos of his genitals to a 16-year-old girl in Oregon. He later successfully moved to have the charging information dismissed, and the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously upheld that decision in February.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals, drawing on Salter v. State, 906 N.E.2d 212 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), wrote because the age of consent for sexual activity in Indiana is 16 years old, it would be “confusing for the State to permit actual sexual activity between adult and sixteen-year-olds while criminalizing the transmission of sexual images from an adult to a sixteen-year-old.”

Arguments begin in the case at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The high court will hear arguments in two other cases Tuesday. First, at 9 a.m., the justices will hear Carletz Jamall Taylor v. State of Indiana, 82S00-1610-LW-00576, a direct appeal of a life without parole sentence. Carletz Taylor was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in Vanderburgh County, but now brings a slew of challenges to his sentence on appeal, including fundamental error and insufficient evidence.

Finally, in the case of Ricky Johnson v. State of Indiana, 79S04-1705-CR-00332, the justices will decide whether police officers violated Ricky Johnson’s constitutional rights when officers found a handgun during a protective sweep of his apartment. The discovery of the handgun led to Johnson’s conviction of Level 4 felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, but that conviction was later reversed by the Court of Appeals.

Arguments in Johnson’s case will begin at 10:30 a.m.

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