The much ballyhooed trial of Rick Krial, owner of After Hours Video on Springhill Road, begins this morning in Staunton Circuit Court, almost a year to the day Staunton Prosecutor Raymond C. Robertson vowed at a press conference to keep
pornography out of Staunton's stores.
In October, the same month After Hours Video opened for business, undercover agents from the Staunton and Waynesboro police departments, along with plainclothes officers from the Virginia State Police, acted as customers and purchased a dozen
DVDs from the Springhill Road store. Weeks later, a special Staunton grand jury convened and charged Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia, with 16 felonies and eight misdemeanor charges of obscenity.
In January, an employee at After Hours Video, Tinsley W. Embrey, also was charged with 10 counts of obscenity, four of them misdemeanor charges.
This week's scheduled four-day trial concerns only the misdemeanor charges against Krial, his company and Embrey. The Commonwealth can proceed with the felony charges only if it garners convictions on the misdemeanors.
The landmark United States Supreme Court case of Miller v. California in 1973 established a standard three-part legal definition of obscenity that must be met: Do applied community standards find that the material appeals to the prurient
interest; is it patently offensive, sexual conduct defined by state law; and does the work, taken as a whole, lack serious literal, artistic, political or scientific value? Those are questions that must be answered by the jury.
The court case will feature a number of legal heavy hitters, Paul Cambria Jr and Louis Sirkin.
Robertson will be assisted by Matthew Buzzelli, an obscenity attorney with the United States Department of Justice.
Jury selection for the case could take up to two days. A misdemeanor trial only requires seven jurors.
Jurors in the case of After Hours Video convicted store owner Rick Krial and the After Hours Video store on misdemeanor charges of selling an obscene item. Krial was fined $1,000 and the store was fined $1,500.
In response to a defense motion the judge agreed that the guilty verdicts will not be entered for 60 days while post-trial motions are filed. An appeal is expected.
Krial and the store were found not guilty on a second charge of obscenity, and store employee Tinsley Embrey was found not guilty on two misdemeanor charges of obscenity.
The misdemeanor convictions may lead to prosecutions on felony obscenity charges that were handed down along with the misdemeanor counts.
Basing their argument on bad evidence and bad statements introduced during the trial of After Hours Video storeowner Rick Krial, defense attorneys have filed motions asking to have the two guilty verdicts set aside.
The ongoing case between the nutter Staunton prosecutor Raymond Robertson and Rick E. Krial, owner of After Hours Video, which led to convictions on obscenity counts last August, could be nearing its end.
Krial has confirmed that he has agreed not to appeal his obscenity convictions and in return will not be prosecuted on felony charges. Krial also has agreed not to reopen After Hours, which has been temporarily closed since the trial
If the store stayed open, they were going to come at me with all the charges they could, Krial said.
The trial centered around standard adult videos purchased at After Hours Video by undercover agents in October 2007. Krial and his company were found guilty and store manager Tinsley Embrey was acquitted of two charges by the jury.
Two months after the verdicts were handed down, the defense team — which included 1st amendment lawyers Paul Cambria and Louis Sirkin — filed motions to have the convictions set aside, citing numerous improper statements that were aimed at
inflaming the passions and prejudices of jurors.
Krial has now said that the fight is over: Nobody needs this kind of aggravatio n.
Krial said other businesses in the city were selling adult videos at the time he applied for and was granted his business license, and the charges against him were a surprise: I didn't expect it because it was already being sold in Staunton.
Krial also runs 11 adult enterprises in Maryland and Virginia.
Robertson is a long time nutter and opponent of adult material. In August 2007 when Robertson heard of Krial's intentions to open the store vowed he was not going to allow dissemination of pornographic material in Staunton. In November
2007, Krial and his company were indicted by a special grand jury on 16 felonies and eight misdemeanors.
The court order ending the city's prosecution of Rick Krial and the now-defunct After Hours Video store has been signed.
Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia LLC, were found guilty on two misdemeanor obscenity charges by a seven-person jury following a week-long obscenity trial in August, setting the stage for possible future felony convictions. Krial and the
company were fined $2,500 and ordered to pay $160 in court costs.
According to the court order, Staunton prosecutor Raymond Robertson will not pursue 16 felony charges against Krial and the company, and in return Krial has agreed to drop a motion to set aside the verdicts and will not appeal the convictions.
Krial also agreed not to reopen After Hours Video or any other adult video store in Staunton.