Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response

Framing Innocence: A Mother's Photographs, a Prosecutor's Zeal, and a Small Town's Response

by Lynn Powell


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The harrowing true story of a mother whose innocent photos of her daughter resulted in child pornography charges—“an enthralling book” (Robert Coles).
When Oberlin, Ohio, resident Cynthia Stewart dropped off eleven rolls of film at a drugstore near her home, she had no idea that two snapshots of her eight-year-old daughter would cause the county prosecutor to arrest her, take her away in handcuffs, threaten to remove her child from her home, and charge her with crimes that carried the possibility of sixteen years in prison. Thankfully, Cynthia’s community came to her defense and supported her through the long legal battle.
In Framing Innocence, poet and author Lynn Powell—who was one of Cynthia’s neighbors—brilliantly probes the many questions raised: when does a photograph of a naked child cross the line from innocent snapshot to child pornography? When does a prosecution cross the line from vigorous to overzealous? When does the parent, and when does the state, know best?
This “fascinating . . . immediate and compelling” story plumbs the perfect storm of events that put a loving family in a small American town at risk (Booklist).
“[A] well-written, absorbing book.” —The Plain Dealer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585516
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lynn Powell is the author of two books of poetry, Old & New Testaments and The Zones of Paradise, and has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Table of Contents

Author’s Note

Part One
1. A Knock at the Door
2. Lawyers in Their Life
3. “Peculiar in That Which is Good”
4. Arrest
5. Suspicions
6. Newsworthy
7. Everything on Their Side

Part Two
8. The Sleeping Dragon Stirs
9. Consultations
10. Rorschach
11. New Year’s Dread
12. Motions, Briefs, Schemes, and Case Plans
13. “I Know It When I See It”
14. “The Average Person with Average Sex Instincts”
15. Cogs and Wheels

Part Three
16. The Politburo
17. Improvisations
18. Watching Out and Watching Over
19. A Thousand Pictures’ Worth
20. One-on-One
21. “I Expect You To Be Honorable”
22. Bottom Lines
23. Almost Normal
24. Gratitude
25. A Memory of Spring


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