A federal judge in Washington, D.C., refused to dismiss a case against pornography producers who were charged with trafficking
hard-core porn films across state lines and displaying illicit movie trailers online.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon rejected their claim that federal obscenity laws are unconstitutional.
John Stagliano and Evil Angel Productions Inc. claimed that federal laws criminalizing the interstate trafficking of obscenity were unconstitutional. They argued that the law barring a Web site from displaying obscene materials was unconstitutionally
vague and overbroad, because made online material subject to the community standards of the most conservative jurisdictions in the country.
But Judge Leon said the law was confined to a very narrow legal definition of obscenity. He said he is certain that online material will be judged as a whole and not individually according to obscenity laws, quashing filmmakers concerns
that the trailer would be taken out of context.
Federal obscenity statutes require items to be judged in context of surrounding work. The government will have to show that the trailer is obscene in the context of the Web page, Leon said.
He also rejected their claim of a right to sexual privacy, saying such a right does not cover the distribution of obscene materials. He said the producers' case pales in comparison and does not even remotely approach the sexual
privacy cases concerning homosexual rights and rights to obtain birth control. However you look at it, obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment, Leon concluded.
Update: Trial Set
26th March 2010. See article
A federal judge has set a July 7 trial date for the obscenity case against John Stagliano and his two production companies, Evil Angel Productions Inc. and John Stagliano Inc.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, at a status conference in Washington at 3 p.m., set the trial date one month and one day after he rejected Stagliano's claim that federal obscenity laws are unconstitutional.
Leon said last month that obscene material is not protected by the 1st Amendment: Having considered the defendants' overbreath of arguments, I am not convinced that such strong medicine is warranted in this case. Nor am I convinced that the
federal obscenity statutes are unconstitutionally vague as applied to Internet speech.