Your Coolness Is Your Weapon, So We Will Take It Away:

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

Randall Shesto II of Waukesha[, a 21-year-old rock musician,] was found guilty in June of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl [whom he had met on MySpace] .... He earlier this year had been convicted of having sex with another 15-year-old girl ....

"You love your music. Your music has been the tool by which you have ingratiated your way into the lives of these girls. You may not play in a band in any public appearances during the term of your probationary period. I'm taking away from you the tools by which you worked your misdeeds, sir," [Judge Ralph] Ramirez said [at Shesto's sentencing].

Ramirez sentenced Shesto to ... [effectively] probation for five years for second-degree sexual assault of a child [plus] a year in jail — one month behind bars and 11 months on work release....

Generally speaking, judges have a great deal of latitude in imposing probation restrictions, including ones that interfere with what would otherwise be the probationers' First Amendment rights; probations generally have no more First Amendment rights than prison inmates, and prison inmates have very few. The rule is that the restrictions must be "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests," and restrictions aimed at blocking behavior that could interfere with the probationer's rehabilitation, or at blocking behavior that could facilitate future crimes by the probationer, are generally upheld.

So the judge's reasoning — which I've tried to encapsulate in the subject line — is, under that standard, not implausible (though not open-and-shut correct). But it is pretty unusual, and struck me as worth noting.

Thanks to Ted Frank for the pointer.

UPDATE: Commenter BGates is the winner:

So instead of being a local rocker, he's a local rocker who The Man won't let play because he's too dangerously sexy. He'll never attract 15 year old girls now.

Rich B. (mail):
There, but for the grace of God, goes every one of Jerry Lee Lewis's hit singles from the 1950s.
12.17.2007 3:38pm
Temp Guest (mail):
This sure beats removing certain other things that are necessary for seduction or rape! I believe that Jerry Lee Lewis was married to his young cousin and that this was legal in his state of residence, so the penalty wouldn't have applied.
12.17.2007 3:45pm
L (mail):
See also United States v. Brandon Betts, __ F.3d __, 2007 WL 4355365 (9th Cir. Dec. 14, 2007). pdf available at
12.17.2007 3:56pm
Joe Bingham (mail):
The real question is, when does Mr. Frank get to join the conspiracy? =)

Consider him reader-recommended.
12.17.2007 3:59pm
Frank? no thanks.
12.17.2007 4:03pm
WHOI Jacket:
Lee's famous comment was "Well, I married her, didn't I?"
12.17.2007 4:08pm
WHOI Jacket:
Lewis' famous comment was "Well, I married her, didn't I?"
12.17.2007 4:08pm
So instead of being a local rocker, he's a local rocker who The Man won't let play because he's too dangerously sexy. He'll never attract 15 year old girls now.
12.17.2007 4:09pm
WHOI Jacket:
Whoops, sorry for double post.
12.17.2007 4:14pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
A much better way to reduce his coolness is to not put him on probation at all and keep him locked up until his age takes care of his coolness.

What a ridiculous ploy.

Why would a second offense merit probation at all?
12.17.2007 4:16pm
Rich B. (mail):
It is somewhat debatable whether Jerry Lee Lewis was properly married to his third wife (the 13 year old cousin), and it is fairly well confirmed that he had not yet finalized his divorce with his second wife as of the date of the nuptials.
12.17.2007 4:16pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Sounds like a pretty appropriate punishment. He can still record as long as he doesn't do a live concert. I guess putting a self-made video on YouTube would be right out.
12.17.2007 4:18pm
JohnK (mail):
If someone were using the internet to cruise for underage girls, no one would bat an eye at banning them from owning a computer as a condition of probation, even if using a computer was his livlyhood. This guy uses his band's appearances to cruise for underage girls. I don't see how banning him from playing in a band is any different than banning someone who cruised chatrooms to meet underaged girls from owning a computer.
12.17.2007 4:22pm
If the oral order controls, as it does in my jurisdiction, he's only forbidden from playing with a band. He can still do solo acts. And, as another person commented, if he plays this up at each solo concert, his appeal should go up as well.
And I don't see why he couldn't do youtube concerts with his band. Those are not "public" performances in the way I understand them.
12.17.2007 4:24pm

That does explain why these sorts of sentences are so rare. It is an affront to judicial dignity to have a judge's technological and social ignorance so publically exposed.
12.17.2007 4:37pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Thomas_Holsinger: I don't see that the judge showed any particular technological ignorance. He did not ban YouTube appearances as those do not put the subject into direct contact with minors. He did not, apparently, ban him from all public performances, but only those when playing with a band. Perhaps the judge, having heard subjects performances, knew he'd never get booked as a solo act.

This doesn't strike me as materially different from banning the school bus driver who assaults one of his charges from ever driving a school bus. It does take away his/her immediate job, but doesn't close the door to similar jobs. For the current miscreant, perhaps working as a studio musician would work out. Who knows? Maybe he'll back the next 'Spice Girls' and require an amended order....
12.17.2007 5:52pm
John Burgess,

You show insufficient imagination here. Mr. Shesto is only banned from playing in public. His band is not banned. He can still appear in person with his band provided he doesn't play.

So he struts around on stage with his band, either doing air guitar wearing a t-shirt saying "I'M TOO SEXY FOR YOU!" while his band plays recorded versions of his banned performances over loudspeakers. Or he just stands on stage with a more-than life-size poster of him with an "I'M TOO SEXY FOR YOU!" sign on it in his normal place, while the band plays recorded versions of his part.
12.17.2007 7:03pm
Public_Defender (mail):
In theory, the guy could play around of the edges of his probation terms, but that could cause him even more problems. First, the judge could amend the terms. Worse, breaking the spirit of his probation terms would likely tick off both his judge and the probation officer. That's a really bad thing. When the judge and PO are ticked, they can hammer him if he makes the slightest technical violation. And most everyone makes slight technical violations.

Rule Number One of Probation: Don't tick off your PO.

And yes, I know the comments were made in good fun. But you know how we lawyers have to squeeze the fun out of everything.
12.17.2007 7:20pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
He got off fairly easy. I'm familiar with one case of an adult having an affair with a 15 year old. He got 8 years actual time in the slammer followed by another 5 or so of supervised probation.
12.17.2007 8:06pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Dave Hardy: Better (or worse, depending on your POV) than those who simply get shot dead by an enraged parent. That really puts a damp towel on future profits. Maybe not for the estate, but for the performer at least.
12.17.2007 8:45pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Don't forget years, if not decades, registering as a sex offender.
12.17.2007 8:49pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
One month in jail, 11 months of night and weekend jail and probation for a second rape of a 15 year old.

How can a hanging judge like this live with the harsh justice he gives out?
12.17.2007 9:13pm

One month in jail, 11 months of night and weekend jail and probation for a second rape of a 15 year old.

Without wishing to minimize the crime committed here, I would like to point out that the sex may well have been consensual. Certainly given the sentence and probation terms it appears so. Sexual penetration of a minor under the age of consent is classified as sexual assualt regardless of actual consent. At least in the state (Texas) where I recently looked up the law.
12.18.2007 12:49am
libertarian soldier (mail):
Well, Wisconsin has always been soft on criminals--it banned capital punishment in the 1850s.
12.18.2007 8:47am