Can a man be given unlimited prison time without being convicted of a crime? I know that a child pornographer is about the least sympathetic kind of person, half a step removed from a child molester or pedophile.
But you need to set that natural prejudice aside and look at the core issue at hand: Can the government throw someone in prison for an INDEFINITE period without any conviction for refusing to provide self incriminating evidence?
Judges can, and do.
US federal prosecutors urged a federal appeals court late Monday to keep a child-porn suspect behind bars—where he already has been for seven months—until he unlocks two hard drives that the government claims contains kid smut.
The suspect, a Philadelphia police sergeant relieved of his duties, has refused to unlock two hard drives and has been in jail ever since a judge ordered him to do so seven months ago—and after finding him in contempt of court. The defendant can remain locked up until a judge lifts the contempt order.
The government said Monday he should remain jailed indefinitely until he complies. The authorities also said that it’s not a violation of the man’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self incrimination because it’s a “foregone conclusion” that illegal porn is on the drives, and that he is only being asked to unlock the drives, not divulge their passcodes.
Tar and feathers applied to constitution breaking judges every so often might disincentivize judges from ignoring the constitution in the first place.