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Is Showing a Film With Naked Dancing and Couple Having Sex (Shown from the Waist Up) to 16-Year-Old

the Crime of "Exhibiting Harmful Matter to a Minor"? That's the question in People v. Dyke, decided last week, and the answer is "no," in the absence of more details about the movies.

The prosecution doubtless arose because the defendant (the father of a friend of the 16-year-old) tried to seduce the 16-year-old, and the defendant was indeed convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery (for stroking the 16-year-old's breast). But the court concludes that, absent more details about the movies, evidence that such movies were shown is insufficient to sustain a conviction for displaying "harmful to minors" material (basically, the same test as for obscenity but with "for minors" attached to each prong). It's a short and readable decision -- if you're interested, check it out.

FantasiaWHT:
Sounds pretty PG-13 to me, unless the dancing was something you'd see in a strip club.
4.15.2009 5:16pm
Anderson (mail):
Sounds pretty PG-13 to me

"Having sex"? If I took my 13YO to a PG-13 film with a scene like that, I'd be angry.

But "harmful matter," criminally speaking? Nah.
4.15.2009 5:30pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
The decision seems good to me.
4.15.2009 5:58pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
If A.S.'s story is true, how wretched for D.D. to have such a father.
4.15.2009 6:01pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Those Dykes are always trying to seduce teenage girls, and the liberal judges are always protecting them.

What? Oh, uh, never mind.
4.15.2009 6:04pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

"Having sex"? If I took my 13YO to a PG-13 film with a scene like that, I'd be angry.

One word: Titanic. though the nude scene and sex scene are separate
4.15.2009 6:09pm
C. Shovell (mail):
Military courts have been dealing with a somewhat analogous issue--can otherwise constitutionally-protected conduct be the basis for a conviction under 10 USC 933 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman).

See United States v. Forney, 67 MJ --- (CAAF 2008), available here:
www.armfor.uscourts.gov/opinions/2008SepTerm/05-0647.pdf
4.15.2009 6:38pm
martinned (mail) (www):
It's stuff like this that puts all the usual talk about how the US is the Walhalla of free speech in perspective.
4.15.2009 6:39pm
Dave N (mail):
I agree the Court got it right. Without more, the elements for Count 1 have not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, it does sound like D.D.'s father is a creep.

(On an unrelated note, I wasn't even aware of high school girls wrestling until this opinion, not that there is anything wrong with it).
4.15.2009 7:37pm
AJK:

It's stuff like this that puts all the usual talk about how the US is the Walhalla of free speech in perspective.


How do you figure?
4.15.2009 11:36pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
block quote

It's stuff like this that puts all the usual talk about how the US is the Walhalla of free speech in perspective.
block quote end

How do you figure?

--

Because we've still got all these Puritan hangups that Europe for the most part laughs at?
4.15.2009 11:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Soronel:

Because we've still got all these Puritan hangups that Europe for the most part laughs at?


Of course, the court here ruled against those Puritan hangups, but dont let that stop you...
4.16.2009 12:41am
Visitor Again:
Soronel:


Because we've still got all these Puritan hangups that Europe for the most part laughs at?


Of course, the court here ruled against those Puritan hangups, but dont let that stop you...


That this particular charge was brought in the first place and that it took an appellate court decision to get rid of it demonstrates we have those Puritan hangups. Thousands on thousands of dollars were expended in this case on behalf of those hangups.

Putting aside the horrendous consequences for liberty, the amount of money we waste on investigating and prosecuting crimes because of our hangups about sex and drugs and because of our puritannical moral standards in general and in imprisoning those convicted of such crimes is itself horrifying. The economic cost to the defendants is huge, too. From the way legislators, the police, the prosecutors, the courts and prison officials act, you'd think we have trillions to throw around. These people suck on the governmental tit for most of their lives, of course, so it's unrealistic to expect them to let a little thing like money stand in their way.
4.16.2009 1:18am
Anderson (mail):
I wasn't even aware of high school girls wrestling until this opinion

Yes, *that* is the videotape whose legality we should be discussing.
4.16.2009 9:31am
ReaderY:
In another jurisdiction the answer might be different.

The work must be taken as a whole, and here taken as a whole includes not only the contents of the film itself isolation but also other aspects of the exhibit including the demeanor and behavior of the person exhibiting it. The film is merely one component of the "work."

While in the Ulysses case taking the work as a whole resulted in less harm appearing than when focusing on a few isolated paragraphs, here we seem to get a potential for an opposite result. Here taking the work as a whole seems to provide more evidence of harm than might exist if an isolated component of the work were shown as a part of another work, e.g. if the same film was exhibited in a different context.
4.17.2009 1:30am

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