Florida Father Turns Over Son’s Cellphone To Show Police Disturbing Photos Brandishing Guns . . . Police Then Arrest Teen For Child Pornography

compositeThe father of a Florida teen is in a tough position after turning over the phone of his son in what he thought was an investigation into disturbing images of guns on  Instagram and Snapchat.  Police however arrested Sean Mesa, 18, a student at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High, not only for the improper display of a firearm but for the more serious change of possession of child pornography based on an examination of the phone.

 

 

Mesa’s case was reported to the U.S Homeland Security Investigations’ Violent Gang Task Force for his Instagram and Snapchat photos “recklessly displaying firearms and pointing them at the camera.” Notably, a girl is also shown displaying a weapon but there is no report of charges against her.  He also had an image with a pistol on his lap with the caption: “now they watching so I ain’t stopping.”Sean Mesa GUNS

When confronted over the images, Mesa insisted that he did nothing wrong in the photos but the father agreed to hand over the phone. The U.S. Secret Service examined the phones and found a video of what appeared to be a child under the age of 10 being sexually abused. They also found that the video was sent to two other people in the group chat, who could also be charged.
The charges on the display of the weapons might have been challenged as based on an ambiguous criminal provision.  There is no allegation that Mesa threatened anyone or had violent intentions.
The question however is how the prosecutors will handle the very serious child porn charges in light of the father’s cooperation.  Mesa is an adult and the police could likely have received a warrant for the phone.
What do you think is the appropriate punishment in such a case? Should the other teens be charged for the photos or the receipt of the video?

46 thoughts on “Florida Father Turns Over Son’s Cellphone To Show Police Disturbing Photos Brandishing Guns . . . Police Then Arrest Teen For Child Pornography”

  1. If it’s hardcore child porn, 10 years in prison. That is much more than a mere “youthful mistake.” As for the other teens, if they agree to allow the guns to be confiscated I’d let them off with a simple misdemeanor.

  2. I think we should be careful not to limit the concept of “Viral”.It should NOT be used as a Armageddon/Domino effect type of slander to try to limit any behavior anyone may see festering, frightening and out of paranoia, set to squash free speech and expression to alieviate those self- inflicted fears.

  3. Improper display?
    So now we are limiting gestures?
    What’s next, frowning while being given a field sobriety test?
    Notice a sex offense attached to these fragrant displays? Hmm. Seems rather convenient.
    Sorta like gun charges always tacked onto drug busts.
    Prosecutors are such weasels.

  4. It’s kind of puzzling that Left still seems to be concerned about pedophilia. But the members of the Left have
    already begun to reclassify pedophilia. And their team of psychiatrists, the same who have diagnosed Donald Trump, have discovered that what has, in the past, been called “pedophilia,” is actually merely a symptom of something they call “transaging.”

    What is “transaging,” you say? I’m glad you asked. Leftist psychiatrists have diagnosed “transaging” as a person who self-identifies with a much younger or much older person. So, just as one can be “transracial,” in which, for example, a white person self-identifies as a black person, and vice versa, one can now be a “transager,” such that an adult person can self-identify as a minor, and, in turn, be attracted to a young minor.

    I realize that keeping up with all these developments is difficult. But please understand that all sorts of behaviors and conduct that were formerly considered to be human aberrations, are now, thanks to Leftist science, considered to be perfectly normal, accepted–and, indeed, protected modes of identify and conduct.

    However, since “transaging” is new, it has not yet made the official University of California list of officially recognized modes of identity. https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/glossary.html. So give this a few more years.

  5. As for the photos involving the firearms this is a very weak case. I fail to see any criminal recklessness involved since it is an obvious staging for the purpose of conveying a James Bond like photo montage. The setting is controlled, as shown by the costume and the vehicles. How can the state show that these firearms were loaded or displayed recklessly? If this was the standard than all film making would be illegal, actors and producers would be in jail. It surprises me that a judge issued a search warrant based upon these photos alone. These students have a free speech right to display Hollywood action movies as they choose.

    This is a problem that happens when the state conflates an unrelated act to a high-profile incident based upon a perceived threat being omnipresent.

    In the news article linked to the Miami Herald below, we can see this in action. The news story about this man with the guns is positioned among the tragic and emotional scenes of the aftermath of a school shooting, inferring there is a strong connection. And that is how the police might have acted here.

    I’m not commenting on the alleged child pornography, but I can see this case being tossed out based upon the problems I’ve mentioned with regard to the firearms. There had better be more to other photos and threats made before I am convinced this case will survive scrutiny of the courts.

      1. I am not familiar with the specific expectation of privacy in that state or the federal level as you say with regard to the custodian issue, so you are probably correct in your proposition. I do not believe this would fly in our state because the accused is an adult and if there was a joint ownership of the cell phone, a search warrant will be necessary to read the contents of the storage device on the phone and that warrant would need to be served on the defendant. The courts here over the last few years significantly restricted government access to cellphones and smart phones. If this was a state case in WA, it would be necessary to secure a search warrant for the cellphone upon the probable cause of what I presume would be the alleged unlawful display of a firearm.

          1. I believe it does if the police have knowledge that the contents of the phone or the ownership of is shared with another individual that is an adult.

            1. We also had a couple cases where a custodian of such, a jailer, provided a cell phone to a LEO after reviewing the contents of the phone. The courts struck that down despite the fact that the phone was in custody of the county jail and could otherwise be subjected to search, such as clothing and other items. This was despite the fact that the phone had not been officially entered into the property room containing his belongings.

              1. It’s tough to enforce the law in your state with that nebulous version of privacy rights in a phone that is in the custody of the government already. How about pants? Can the jailer search your pants? I would think folks have an expectation of privacy in their pockets, too,

                1. The reasoning behind the court’s decision with the cell phone was that times have changed with regard to keeping of papers and effects at the time of drafting of the state constitution. It reasoned that the cellphone for most people serves as a general repository of private information that is portable. In essence, it replaced items such as file cabinets, safes, that were static and held within the confines of one’s residence. Since ordinarily people’s papers and effects held within their residence is subjected to intense privacy guarantees, the cell phone should be so protected.

                  This does differ from traditional searches of items brought by a prisoner into a jail. Pat downs etc are still permitted, though the state cracked down on body cavity searches unless a very definite threat can be articulated at the time of booking into a jail. Generally if it is not a cell phone, locked container, or the cavity of their body (but strangely the mouth can be searched and it is an orifice just as well) it can be searched.

                  Decades ago, the state supreme court held that the state analog of the federal constitution’s fourth amendment, Article 1 Section 7 of the WA Constitution, provides a “greater expectation of privacy than the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” pursuant to that warrantless searches are “unreasonable except in the case of a few narrowly defined” exceptions.

                  The constraints do result in handcuffing of the police in many ways but it is not without complete prohibition. Essentially you can search most things, provided you get a search warrant. But most LEOs don’t want to go through the time and effort to get one, and instead rely on these exceptions or not pursue the matter.

                  The courts have retreated in some cases where they actually admitted they went too far and such a prior restriction was not workable, though this is a rare occurrence.

                2. If the phone could reasonably be construed to be a potential weapon, such as might a knife in a pocket, or a physical immediate danger such as a hypodermic needle (“sharp”).

              2. A few years ago in Riley v. California, the Supreme Court ruled that a warrant was needed to examine the contents of a cell phone.
                Prior to the Riley case, I think law enforcement in most jurisdictions felt free to search cell phones.

  6. One can be arrested for “improper display of a firearm” in Florida? How can that be? I’ve been listening and reading uninformed people for the past week spout off about how Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and Wayne LaPierre have fixed it so there are no gun restrictions in Florida. In fact, some of these lying crackpots want you to believe there are no restrictions on guns in America. They’ve never read the statute.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/922

    I don’t understand the Florida state law. The kid looks like he’s emulating Al Pacino in his role as Tony Montana in Scarface. Scarface was filmed in part in Miami Beach. Why didn’t Al Pacino get arrested for “improper display” of a firearm? How is this kid posing as a tough guy any different from Al Pacino posing in Scarface? Nobody’s liberty is infringed in either case.

    I don’t like the photo. Posting it reflects poor judgment by the kid and is probably cause to keep a close eye on him. It also gives the idiot class the impression he reflects most gun owners.

    But freedom means dumb people get to do dumb things provided their conduct does not directly infringe on anybody else’s liberty. For example, I think people who shit on (or burn) the American flag are vile and repugnant. They know their conduct is offensive to lots of people. That’s why they do it. But nobody’s liberty is infringed so the shitter’s expression is protected.

    Why doesn’t this law about “improper display” constitute government censorship and violate the First Amendment?

  7. If he is the owner of all those guns, at age 18, there is a problem in the home. I wouldn’t allow any adolescent male living under my roof to own or possess that many guns. The linked article further states that after his father turned his two cell phones over to the Secret Service, and he was questioned, that he continued to post photos of guns using other devices, along with the caption, “Now they watchin’ so I ain’t stoppin’”. The kid has an obsession with guns and a defiant attitude and appears to be a wanna-be gang banger of sorts. And add to that the situation with him possessing and distributing pictures of a 10 y/o being sexually abused; I’d say he should be locked up because he’s a ticking time bomb and a danger to others. I feel bad for the father, but he did the right thing. The girlfriend is a non-issue. She’s just some girl dating a good-looking guy with lots of money for a nice car and clothes and expensive guns. She’s cooperating with him in some “Bonnie and Clyde” photo much like they could do at a carnival booth. Unless there’s evidence of further gun involvement, she’s irrelevant.

  8. The photos are simulations along the lines of classic movie versions of “Bonny & Clyde” stuff.

    http://www.tokkoro.com/1973614-bonnie-clyde.html.

    However, the real Bonny & Clyde, would not aim their guns at the camera lens and tended to point away; though they would sometimes aim at themselves.

    And, of course, the James Bond franchise has long glorified all sorts of firearms. Who among us has not seen one of the many actors playing him dressed elegantly in a tuxedo, brandishing a gun, or even aiming it directly at the camera lens as demonstrated in this promotional photo of Roger Moore playing the character?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=photo+james+bond&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=VH3TBVDa4lw0_M%253A%252C5JqvgQ9fFT5QeM%252C_&usg=__YpCD0lQ586oDEwX3seteBUs2_vo%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ2djx3MHZAhXl6YMKHWTDCM0Q9QEINTAF#imgrc=wC2u5gRFtYLeDM:

    Funny though, Hollywood is always lecturing the public about how guns should be taken away from the law-abiding public, but they love to glorify weapons and violence in their many products. I guess that’s just the Leftist approach to things. It’s okay if Leftist authorities like the media do something, but not ordinary Americans–who want to exercise their civil liberties–or the “peons,” as the Leftist authorities like the media, the big banks, the powerful moles in Washington, DC, and others of the Deep State like to refer to them.

  9. There was a child abuse video floating around the Internet a few weeks ago, where the people who posted it were allegedly trying to get help identifying the molester. Which led to:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Local law enforcement is warning people not to share child pornography videos or pictures of any kind of social media or via email or text, even if the person sharing the video thinks they’re helping to get the word out to catch an accused suspect.

    Law enforcement told Eyewitness News there is a video of child pornography that is making the rounds on social media, in which people are calling for the arrest of the accused moles

    Police said not to share the video because it is illegal to do so, even if someone has good intentions and is trying to get the word ou

    http://www.wftv.com/news/local/viral-video-sparks-legal-warning-reminder-about-sharing-child-porn/694610977

    I wonder if that is the video???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Excellent Internet sleuthing, Squeeky.

      However, to get to the bottom of such cases, the police should not rely on the FBI to track down the source of the photos or videos, as the FBI, apparently, doesn’t know much about the Internet. For example, when they were investigating the Clinton case, they lost a whole bunch of emails by mistake. And when they were given a lead about a threatening post by a person who called himself “Nikolas Cruz” (with that unusual spelling and who would later turn out to actually commit the mass murders he threatened), the FBI said they didn’t know how to trace the Internet Protocol (“IP”) address of the poster, even that’s why IP addresses were created in the first place: to create a traceable electronic fingerprint of the computer and the trail to it. Maybe their $9 billion budget isn’t enough, and needs to be doubled. I’m sure that will solve the problem, even though it never has before. There’s always a first time.

      1. I really LOL reading that, Ralph. This scene was literally (not the figurative literal) like watching a National Lampoon movie, except it was real: the day after the last shooting, the FBI guy stood IFO a news camera and said with a straight face the FBI “could not identify the author of the post” to which you refer.

        For those that did not hear the most recent 911 call released: the adult woman who owned the home where Cruz lived, in which she says: “…you must remove him from my home…he put a gun to his brother’s head…he did this before to his mother…he’s going to return to school and shoot the place up….I am letting you know to clear my conscience after he shoots up the school” to which Sheriff Scott Israel’s Deputies did nothing except cash their pay check. If they had at least arrested Cruz, his possession of the guns would have been illegal till at least after the trial, is my understanding. Scott Israel and his Deputies belong behind bars. If you live in FL, you need a gun to protect yourself from Israel and his Deputies, because they will give bullets to your killer then blame the NRA and its President. Look around for a video in which Israel says the police can do nothing to help in a mass shooting.

        One of the problems that directly caused four police to stand outside while Cruz killed, and that also causes LEO’s to kill innocents, is they live by the motto that their most critical job is to get back home alive. That motto needs to go, starting now. If you are a LEO and your most pressing urgency is your own safety, resign now.

        It’s been 1.5 weeks and the FBI has not named the criminally negligent FBI employee(s) who did nothing in response to Cruz announcing several times to the world his intent. If a non-FBI employee committed the same act of omission, that person and every person they knew and/or talked with for the prior week would be behind bars now, looking for credit to hire an attorney.

  10. Wow…. Sadly this young man has been to WAY TOO MANY MOVIES…. and has apparently been corrupted by some / several sorts of social media. Very SAD

  11. What do you think is the appropriate punishment in such a case? Should the other teens be charged for the photos or the receipt of the video?

    Not enough information.

  12. I clicked on this post expecting to find a story about a teen being caught with nudes from his 17 year-old girlfriend, and getting thoroughly shafted by a poorly written law. I wasn’t expecting this. This kid is sick, and he needs to be locked up. In fact, it sounds like his whole circle of friends could stand some serious scrutiny.

  13. I am glad this young man was busted – an 18 yo into such a photo? That is sick – and I’m not sure he can be rehabilitated. Pedophilia is generally not treatable. And extreme aversion therapy would probably be illegal – I am thinking Clockwork Orange. His buddies need to be examined by a shrink to see if they too are pedos.

  14. Let’s ask The Peter. Let’s ask The Turnip. Let’s ask little Rubio. Let’s publicize their responses.

    Personally, if the evidence can be retained, the guy should get, at the very least, serious psychological evaluation and whatever treatment/incarceration the society deems necessary. Perhaps all that happens to him is that he goes to counseling for a time and is placed on a watch list. He should not ever have the ‘right to bear arms’. These are the necessary benchmarks that this society needs in order to reduce access to guns of those that are mentally questionable. This is one guy that does not qualify for the ‘well regulated militia’.

  15. The may have trouble getting the photo(s) into evidence since they did not come by the phone legally. Fruit of the poisonous tree, etc.

    1. Consent to search by a custodian of the phone gets around all of that, Paul. Wanna bet Dad’s paying? This little creep needs some serious jail or counseling or both.

      1. mespo – surprised dad found the gun photos and missed the child porn, No good deed goes unpunished. 😉

        1. Paul,
          He probably had the video hidden in some fake app. Cops know; parents don’t. Either way Dad probably saved his kid’s miserable life and hopefully the child victim, too. How many perverts do we have our there anyway?

          1. mespo – if you define pervert the way Gender Studies does, then way too many. However, we do have a huge problem with human trafficking and child pornography. They LEOs have been working on both, but there is only so many hands to go around.

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