A Judge's Dirty Pictures: Funny, Just Gross, or a Resigning Offense?

A federal judge has granted a request to delay an obscenity trial over which he is presiding so prosecutors can decide whether sexually explicit material on his semi-private website represents a conflict of interest. The defendant is Ira Isaacs, a self-described "shock artist" whose videos feature bestiality and defecation. The judge is libertarian favorite Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. Court Appeals for the 9th Circuit (doing a trial court rotation), whose interests seem to be a bit tamer:

Among the images on the site were a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal....

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends. After the interview Tuesday evening, he blocked public access to the site.

The sexually explicit material on the site was extensive, including images of masturbation, public sex and contortionist sex. There was a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual, and a folder that contained a series of photos of women's crotches in snug-fitting clothing or underwear.

Kozinski told The Times that he began saving the sexually explicit materials and other items of interest on his website years ago.

"People send me stuff like this all the time," he said.

In turn, he said, he occasionally passes on items he finds interesting or funny to others.

Among the sexually explicit material on his site that he defended as humorous were two photos. In one, a young man is bent over in a chair and performing fellatio on himself. In the other, two women are sitting in what appears to be a cafe with their skirts hiked up to reveal their pubic hair and genitalia. Behind them is a sign reading "Bush for President."

"That is a funny joke," Kozinski said.

The judge said he planned to delete some of the most objectionable material from his site, including the photo depicting women as cows, which he said was "degrading...and just gross." He also said he planned to get rid of a graphic step-by-step pictorial in which a woman is seen shaving her pubic hair.

Kozinski offered the Los Angeles Times two possible explanations for the especially offensive images: that he uploaded them by accident or that his adult son, Yale, uploaded them on purpose without his knowledge. Judging from the description in the Times, Kozinski is right that none of this stuff would be found to be obscene—certainly not in Los Angeles, where the trial is taking place. Kozinski, a First Amendment stalwart, can be accused of indiscretion but not of hypocrisy. In fact, the prosecutors evidently are worried that he will be sympathetic to the defendant because he sees nothing wrong with looking at dirty pictures. If he remains on the case after this embarrassment, of course, there's a possibility he would err in the opposite direction. But given his ability to distinguish between "funny" and "just gross," I'd say Kozinski has the right skill set to draw the arbitrary, subjective line between sexually explicit and obscene. Too bad that's up to the jury.

Concerned Women for America are (is?) demanding Kozinski's resignation, which makes me like him even more.

Matt Welch noted the Isaacs trial earlier this week.

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  • Bingo||

    2 girls 1 cup.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    If the bestiality was with real animals it was cruel but if the actions were with interns it is a free speech demonstration against the cruelty of bestiality with animals.

  • Robert||

    If he blocked pornography from his account, why wouldn't that be a conflict of interest?

  • ||

    Michael Savage has been ranting and screaming about this for the last week, according to my wife (she's hooked on the local right-wing blowhard station for some reason).

    It gets a big, fat BFD from me.

  • ||

    I feel that the Google ads on this thread should be noted for posterity.

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    I know you're all disappointed by the last one...

  • ||

    Well, there goes the Supreme Court appointment from future President Barr...

  • First Little Pig||

    Would it not be MORE of a conflict of interest that instead of having some lame-ish tame-ish porno the Judge was a bible-thumper complete with his own pre-judgments?

    Oh right! This is America and believing in hell-fire and brimstone and whatever other bronze-age myth nonsense is at least "normal" if not "good". Jeebus, can I move now?

  • Franklin Harris||

    We have got to get this guy on the SCOTUS.

  • ||

    of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal....

    Oh god, he's a furry.

  • ||

    ChrisH wrote: Well, there goes the Supreme Court appointment from future President Barr..

    Hey, if Justice Thomas could survive 'the pubic hair' incident, ya never know.

  • Dave W.||

    Best. Judge. Ever.

  • Cindy||

    NO ANIMAL OR KIDS. They don't have the power to consent or refuse!

    Other than that do whatever you want.

    But I saw that man on TV tonight. The idea of him doing anything while looking at porn is one big nasty shuddering moment.

    And what the ever loving f*** at hording shots of female crotches in tight clothing and women painted as cows?

    Can't he just pick up the latest issue of STAR magazine and see Paris Hilton with her old jewish lady animal print outfits and great big old camel-toe blazing at the camera?

  • drawnasunder||

    Why is it that the squares' position is the only one that isn't a conflict of interest?

    Should he recuse himself because he's an outspoken free speech advocate too?

  • ||

    This Judge brought to you by the letter /b/

  • ||

    I know the picture they are talking about, with the cow bodypaint thing. Maybe not the exact one, but it's part of a series. It took all of 2 seconds of google image search to find it.

    http://my.opera.com/christianj16/albums/showpic.dml?album=176694&picture=2635257

  • ||

    Is it illegal? Are any of the participants not consenting adults?

    No?

    Then what's the goddam problem...

  • Didja hear about the two gay j||

    They tried each other.

    Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk.

  • Nibblet||

    He can have all the porn he wants. But he shouldn't be simultaneously part of a system that is trying to destroy the life of am honest businessman who happens to deal in porn.

  • ||

    For those who are interested (and I know you are), someone has been kind enough to compile the images. Here.

  • ||

    Cavorting with an aroused farm animal? I'm hoping it was a rooster or a ram, because a hogs and stallions don't always know that "no" means "no. Geez.

  • ||

    It's pretty obvious that the stuff in question isn't porn, if by that term you mean materials used for the purpose of sexual arousal. Judge K is well known for having a raunchy sense of humor, and this fits perfectly into that.

  • ||

    ranchy, too

  • Greg N.||

    Look, any judge who's ever seen a picture of a naked woman is unfit to be a judge.

    What does it say of one's judgment that he would look at things like pictures of nude women?

  • Elemenope||

    What does it say of one's judgment that he would look at things like pictures of nude women?

    That depends *entirely* upon how attractive the nude woman is, now, doesn't it?

  • 2 in the goo||

    It took all of 2 seconds of google image search to find it.

    Uh-huh, so why should it take longer than that for me to see the images you found so quickly? Oh yes, because I have to copy and paste the goddamned url. Jesus, this is the 21st century. Ask Happy Jack for an html lesson so you can learn to post a fucking link.

    NO ANIMAL OR KIDS. They don't have the power to consent or refuse!

    Hey Cind, I'm with ya on the kids part (though the all caps bit is kinda poor form - maybe Happy Jack can teach you html too so you can use the preferred italics for emphasis), but I dunno 'bout the animals. This chick (mid 20's so perfectly legal, for the record) I used to chat with admitted she had a rather unusual (I hope) method of taking care of herself, so to speak. After some convincing (and perhaps some lying that I was also sick enough that I'd probably like it) she agreed to send me a video she'd made of her dog eagerly licking her to orgasm. She told me how she'd learned of this many (many) years ago from a neighborhood girlfriend on a sleepover and had been doing it ever since. It's definitely not my thing (hell I can't stand it when a dog lick my hand much less... ) but trust me, nobody was forcing the dog, he just went right at it. Besides, the dog is like 28 in dog years, and what's it gonna do, traumatize the dog so he can't ever enjoy normal relations with the poodle next door?

  • Fritz||

    I just happened upon this:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=OdjCdbGucCU

    Look at the way he devours that woman; is he not a go-getter?

    Really, though, these Concerned Mothers are saying that a person whose sense of humor offends their religious morality is unfit to provide objective judgment on obscenity law, when it's really "obscenity" law that defies objective standards and is unfit to be codified as it currently is.

    Also, I second one of the earlier posts: wouldn't it be a real conflict of interest if he was a Christian fundamentalist whose preferred standards of judgment came from ancient religious texts, rather than the civil law he was appointed to uphold?

  • Fritz||

    *sorry, I meant Concerned Women--though there's a good chance they're mothers, and there's probably a Concerned Mothers somewhere marching in the same direction.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Dude, you guys got royally scooped on the Kozinski the Pornographer story. :-)

    Here's the thing, everybody has preconceived notions about almost anything you want to name. Why does that disqualify Kozinski from the trial?

  • ||

    I saw the pics - again, no big deal. By the way, I like the "are(is?)" reference re the CWOA. I would apply that to the Catholic League as well, since I'm not at all convinced it's more than the one guy anyway...

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    naked women on all fours painted to look like cows

    Wait! I have one like that one!

    It's on the dark side of TWC. The link called When That Chick Bent Over I Forgot My Name.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Why is it that the squares' position is the only one that isn't a conflict of interest?

    Nah, that crazy stuff is across the board. It's why the defense attorney in a murder case asks the prospective jurors how they feel about giving the perp the needle.

    It's why the pro-abortion side always bitches that the conservative appointees aren't open minded, which is code for not having a pro-abortion bias.

    The whole notion that any judge is unbiased and holds open a vacant room in his mind where the answers to legal questions lie unformed is absurd. Yet that is what our facade of a legal system demands. Judges, appointees, and jurors pretend they have reached no conclusions prior to hearing the evidence.

  • JMR||

    CMN is exactly right. AK (like me) has a raunchy sense of humor. Some of us do -- and some of us (him, not me!) are very, very smart. Interest in sex and humor about sex are not the same thing as evil, but I've already seen O'Reilly whine about it on the Vibrator Factor, so I suspect the anti-sex bluenose nutjobs like him will be out in force. Idiots.
    JMR

  • Metal Messiah||

    But given his ability to distinguish between "funny" and "just gross," I'd say Kozinski has the right skill set to draw the arbitrary, subjective line between sexually explicit and obscene. Too bad that's up to the jury.

    There shouldn't be a legal line between sexually explicit and obscene in the first place.

    That pesky First Amendment, and all...

  • ||

    Judge K is an unusual guy. I saw him at a debate on the death penalty, in which he very aggressively took the pro-DP side. Fair enough, there are definitely two reasonable sides to that debate.

    But he defended his position by launching into extremely graphic and grotesque descriptions of torture and murder of children by pederasts. It was weird and kid of spooky.

    One anti-DP audience member, when he got a turn to speak, commented on the "relish" with which Kozinski recounted these stories. I had the same impression. And I'm someone who's really admired some of his rulings, particularly when he took on prosecutorial absuses.

  • Boom!||

    2 in the goo ... dude, wake up. Any sexual interaction with other species is simply sick, and should not be permitted. End of story.
    On the other hand ... Michael Savage should throw himself off the Golden Gate already. These pics are relatively innocuous, and most of them are done in the spirit of pure humor ... as opposed to a purely pornographic intent.
    The Bush thing was hilarious ... same with the priest. Offensive? To some, yes. But obscene? You must be kidding me ... this is the kind of shit that gets passed around at my office on a daily basis. It's known as "raunchy humor". Get a goddamn life!!

  • ||

    I am shocked - SHOCKED - that one of our judges here in the U-nited States of Amairka would have even SEEN any of this pro-fanity! But he LIKED it! That just goes against G*d and everything this country was founded on. And now he's gonna rule for this other lady because there both pervs!

    EYE certainly have never looked at any stuff like this! NEVER!

  • Episiarch||

    Prudes are entertaining, as long as they have no power. Concerned Women for America are therefore hilarious.

  • robc||

    Oh yes, because I have to copy and paste the goddamned url. Jesus, this is the 21st century. Ask Happy Jack for an html lesson so you can learn to post a fucking link.


    Is highlight/middle-click really that hard?

  • ||

    He can have all the porn he wants. But he shouldn't be simultaneously part of a system that is trying to destroy the life of am honest businessman who happens to deal in porn.

    I think he is an essential part of this system; otherwise it is populated entirely by people who are on one side of the issue, and is not representative of the range of American opinion on this.

    I mean, nobody would say that only judges who don't have a driver's license can preside over traffic offenses? Right?

  • JMR||

    much more here:

    http://patterico.com/2008/06/11/the-la-timess-tipster-on-kozinskis-porn-cyrus-sanai/
    http://patterico.com/2008/06/12/exclusive-kozinskis-porn-images-from-judge-alex-kozinskis-web-site/
    http://cryptome.org/kozinski-stuff/kozinski-stuff.htm

    on possible motivations of the original revealer.
    JMR

  • ||

    Were those two judges who tried each other named Patrick Fitzgerald and Gerald Fitzpatrick?

  • Zeb||

    I'm still confused. How can anti-obscenity laws be constitutional?

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