Joe Cordell Explains Legal Ramifications Of ‘Revenge Porn’

KMOX NewsRadioRecently, Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joe Cordell appeared on the Charlie Brennan Show on KMOX News Radio 1120 AM to discuss the emergence of “revenge porn” and its legal ramifications.

Over the last decade, more couples have started recording themselves while engaged in sexual activities. In cases where the couple ends up running into relationship problems, one party will sometimes retaliate against the other by distributing the compromising photos or video on social media or through email or text messages.

This trend has created a crisis in the law, according to Mr. Cordell.

“What I think has happened here is that the law has failed to keep up with this fast unfolding technological opportunity,” Mr. Cordell said.

Joe Cordell

Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joseph Cordell

Mr. Cordell said it is often unclear whether sending these images is against the law. Most states do have a cause of action called a public disclosure of private facts, which enables a party to sue, but they must show an intent to cause emotional distress, which is often difficult to prove.

Fifteen states also have a criminal cause of action for this sort of activity and  another 12 have pending legislation. In 2013, only three states had such laws.

Furthermore, engaging in this type of behavior can affect a person’s divorce case in a more indirect fashion.

“The principle that both parties in a divorce need to keep in mind is that they want credibility before the judge,” Mr. Cordell said, “and they don’t want the judge … to dislike them because judges in family courts have broad discretion … meaning their opinion is difficult to overturn. So when one of the parties is engaging in that sort of activity, it really poisons the well of the court and it can have ramifications in a variety of ways.”

Click below to listen to the full interview.