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Illinois judge rethinks harsh punishment for man's Facebook photo posting

| Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

CHICAGO — In a rare move, a Cook County, Ill., judge reversed himself on Friday, reducing to a misdemeanor a man's felony conviction for posting on Facebook a photo of his young daughter bound and gagged with tape.

The move by Judge Lawrence Flood was made two months after he convicted Andre Curry of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery, both felonies, and was scheduled to sentence him to a potential prison term. Instead the judge sentenced Curry to 18 months of probation and ordered him to take parenting classes.

In reducing Curry's conviction to misdemeanor domestic battery, the judge said that on reviewing the law, he found prosecutors had not proved Curry intended to obstruct the child's breathing. Flood cited testimony from police and Curry's sister that the tape was over the girl's mouth for only a few seconds.

“In your rush to show everyone how funny you were, you used ... a helpless 22-month-old child, who was completely dependent on you, as a prop,” the judge lectured the 22-year-old father. “This was not funny, OK? I want you to understand the gravity of your lack of judgment in this case.”

Family members have said that Curry is playful and the photograph was meant to be a joke.

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