Transformers: Age of Criminal Prosecutions

The most believable part of Transformers Age of Extinction is the idea of giant alien robots that can transform into different vehicles. The movie went out of its way to say it was legally “O.K.” for a 20 year-old to date (and arguably have sex with) a 17 year-old, and totally ignore the Export Control Licensing Act and Firearm Control Act. Both Shane Dyson and Joshua Joyce would need to live in China at the end of the movie to avoid criminal prosecution in the United States.

Don’t Have Sex With High School Students

Let’s start with Shane Dyson, the 20 year-old who was in a presumed sexual relationship with the 17 year-old Tessa Yeager. While Tessa Yeager could consent to a sexual relationship at age 17, the issue is engaging in sexual activity when Shane was 19 and Tessa 16; or when Shane was 18 and Tessa 15. This would subject Shane Dyson to prosecution for having committed statutory rape. Dyson went so far as carrying the Texas code section in his wallet, as if that would protect him from prosecution for having sexual relations with a high school student who was under the age of consent. Texas law states:

(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2):

(1) that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or
(2)  that:

(A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:

(i) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(ii)  was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and

(B) the victim:

(i) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and
(ii)  was not a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

Tex. Penal Code § 22.011(e).

OptimusPrime_PardonI hope to God no 20 year-old watched this film and thought they could sleep with girls in high school because the age of consent in Texas is 17. This entire scene is grossly irresponsible and added nothing to the plot.

Texas allowing an affirmative defense to statutory rape does not mean Shane would be free to have sexual relations with Tessa Yeager because she was only three years younger than him. The law takes the view that juveniles “lack the capacity to appreciate the significance or the consequences of agreeing to sex, and thus cannot give meaningful consent.” In re B.W., 313 S.W.3d 818, 820-821 (Tex. 2010), referencing Hazelton, 915 A.2d at 234; Collins v. State, 691 So.2d 918, 924 (Miss. 1997) and Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 569, 125 S. Ct. 1183, 161 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2005).

Texas Penal Code section 22.011 states it a crime to intentionally or knowingly have non-consensual sex with an adult, or sex under any circumstances with a child (a person under seventeen). Id. In situations where the victim is fourteen, a Court would examine the child’s subjective agreement on whether a crime had been committed. In re B.W., 313 S.W.3d 818, 820-821 (Tex. 2010), citing TEX. PENAL CODE § 22.011(e).

Shane could be charged with the strict liability crime of statutory rape. Carrying a copy of Texas law in his wallet will not protect him from a District Attorney charging him with sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011. Whether or not he has an affirmative defense would turn on the testimony of Tessa on whether she subjectively agreed to have sex with a legal adult (let alone who consented to Tessa participating in high risk driving competitions. Add forgery and child endangerment to the charges in state court).

There could be additional Federal charges against Shane Dyson and Tessa Yeager if photos of a sexual nature were exchanged over webcam (which was alluded to when the two talked over a Skype-like application) or text messages. Both could be subject to having created or stored child pornography under 18 USCS § 2252A. This would result in both having to register as sex offenders.

You Cannot Take Military Technology to China

Joshua Joyce, CEO of KSI, took his Transformers built for the US military to China. This unquestionably would violate the Arms Export Control Act. The purpose of the Act is to keep weapons that could contribute to an arms race, aid in the development of weapons of mass destruction, support international terrorism, increase the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict, or prejudice the development of bilateral or multilateral arms control or nonproliferation agreements or other arrangements. 22 USCS § 2778(a)(2).

The President of the United States can control the import and export of defense articles and services in furtherance of world peace, security, and the foreign policy of the United States. Giant weaponized robots build for the US military would fall under the export licensing requirements 22 USCS § 2778(c), because they are “drones,” which are specifically named in the Act. There is simply no way these weapons could be taken to China, which has nuclear missiles aimed at the United States.

BumbleBee_ExportChina

A college professor who worked as defense contractor was convicted of violating export control law by emailing a paper on plasma technology used in Drones to a professor in China; taking the same material on a computer to China; and showing two foreign nationals the data in Tennessee. United States v. Roth, 628 F.3d 827, 829 (6th Cir. Tenn. 2011). In another case, two Defendants were convicted of violating exporting laws by shipping military grade electronic components to China. United States v. Zhen Zhou Wu, 711 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. Mass. 2013).

Giant military robots that could be operated by a pilot are a Drone that could not be sent to China without an export license. There is simply no way any President would authorize the transfer of such advanced technology to a country in the “frenemy” category that lends money while performing cyber-acts, contemporaneously building a blue water Navy to challenge the United States, along with a horrid human rights record on its own citizens. Just no way on Earth that would happen.

Joshua Joyce could be charged and convicted of violating the Arms Export Control Act. The punishments are 20 years in prison, $1,000,000 for each violation, or both. Considering that 50 KSI Transformer Drones were sent to China, the billionaire could be fined $50,000,000 and spend 20 years in Federal prison. 22 USCS § 2778(c).

Let’s not forget the criminal conspiracy with the rogue CIA officers to commit treason, which included a plan to detonate a “Seed” in China. That could be considered an act of war or providing China with the raw materials it needed to build its own Transformer Drones. Joyce should strongly consider never returning to the United States, unless the President pardons him for treason and violating the Arms Export Control Act.

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