Is John Stagliano's Victory a First Amendment Victory?

Friday's dismissal of obscenity charges against John Stagliano is great news, since no one should be threatened with prison for distributing pornography produced by and for consenting adults. But the outcome should not be read as a victory for the First Amendment. As the account by Mark Kernes of Adult Video News makes clear, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's decision to stop the trial after the prosecutors presented their case hinged on their incredibly sloppy work in linking Stagliano to the sale and interstate shipping of the two films at issue in the case. Leon ruled that the government had not presented enough evidence for the jurors to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Stagliano himself had anything to do with approving the content of the films or distributing them. It seems that if the prosecutors had been a little more careful in laying that foundation, the trial could have proceeded, in which cases the jurors still would have been asked to pass judgment on whether Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2 appeal to "the prurient interest," are "patently offensive" according to "contemporary community standards," and lack any "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." As I argued last week, such utterly subjective judgments have no place in a court of law.

Go here for Reason's coverage of the Stagliano case.

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  • Max||

    Fondle my junk here

  • ||

    Must have been a case inherited from Bush. And now the prosecutors were told to throw it.

  • Bradley||

    Obama can do no wrong.

  • ||

    If Uncle Joe just knew, he'd close those awful camps.

  • ||

    How many Milk Enemas have YOU received from Barry?

  • ||

    U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's decision to stop the trial after the prosecutors presented their case hinged on their incredibly sloppy work in linking Stagliano to the sale and interstate shipping of the two films at issue in the case.

    All the more to go to a strictly streaming business model.

  • ||

    Oh, they'll try again.

    Because, you know how this goes, sex stuff I find yucky should be illegal.

    Has the Reason staff gotten any respones from the 99 living senators about whether they thing this prosecution was a proper use of law enforcement resources yet?

  • ||

    Has the Reason staff gotten any respones from the 99 living senators about whether they thing this prosecution was a proper use of law enforcement resources yet?

    "Have you stopped beating your meat yet?"

  • ||

    Sit at the children's table where you belong.

  • ||

    I'll put that down as a "no."

  • ||

    I wonder. Did the judge really want to punish the prosecutors for sloppy work or was he afraid the jury would actually rule in favor of limiting speech? Better question, does the judge subscribe to this magazine? Best question, does Stagliano have dirt on the judge?

  • Joe M||

    Oh, I think the Judge was on board with this case in a major, conflict of interest kinda way. If he stopped the trial, he must've been realized the case was too weak.

  • ||

    Did the judge really want to punish the prosecutors for sloppy work or was he afraid the jury would actually rule in favor of limiting speech?

    Nah. He knew the conviction would get overturned on appeal, and the other judges would laugh at him at their cocktail parties.

    Plus, he probably wasn't looking forward to any kind of inquiry into the FBI agent's statement that the judge and prosecutor were colluding before the trial.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Plus, he probably wasn't looking forward to any kind of inquiry into the FBI agent's statement that the judge and prosecutor were colluding before the trial.
    DING DING DING, we have a winner.

  • ||

    appeal to "the prurient interest,"

    I saw a girl the other day who was dressed in this really nice summer dress.

    She certainly appealed to my prurient interest; should I have had her arrested?

  • Joe M||

    No, you should be arrested for thoughtcrime.

  • ||

    I dunno about arrested. I would think handcuffed and spanked would be the way to go.

  • ||

    Hey, did she meet the other elements?

    Cuz this ain't disjunction, champ.

    Nice try, though. Fall semester's starting - maybe you can take a basic logic course.

  • ||

    thing think.

  • Tim||

    If they could have proved it had been unpasterized milk in those enemas, Stagliano would be in jail now...

  • Jane||

    Seeing some girl squirt milk out of her fucking asshole is gross and disgusting. There is no reason this sleazebag should not be in prison. This is such a clear case of obsecenity it is unbelievable.

  • Fritz Perls||

    Jane, before posting recite the following prayer aloud to yourself:

    I do my thing and you do your thing.

    I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
    And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
    You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
    If not, it can't be helped.
    (Fritz Perls, 1969)

  • Answer my prayer bitch||

    Fritz, I think you are the most accomplished idiot ever, and that is a difficult talent on this site.

  • Fritz Perls||

    Why do you feel so much anger toward me?

  • Answer my prayer bitch||

    Fritz,nobody can stand truth if it is told to him. Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable

  • Fritz Perls||

    And what is the truth?

    Why are you angry at those who do not see the truth?

  • Answer my prayer bitch||

    Slow too. You should know your own fucking quotes. Next time pick someone on your level: Scooby Doo.

  • Fritz Perls||

    So you feel superior as well as angry?

    You are resisting therapy. It would be helpful to you if identify the source of your anger. It is not me. You don't know me well enough for that.

    It has to be something you identify with my persona. What is it?

  • Answer my prayer bitch||

    yes, yes, yes, no, yes,yes,yes,everything.

  • Unthinking Person||

    Mistress Jane:

    I enjoy watching girls squirting milk out of their assholes very much, but I understand this is a hard limit for you.

    What type of punishments would you devise for someone like me? Assuming you knew me of course, and caught me viewing this type of pornography?

  • ||

    Jane, your ugly fucking face is clearly an obscenity.

    Go fuck yourself, then surrender to the police for your punishment, you hepatitis infested cunt.

  • ||

    "gross and disgusting"

    I agree completely

    "There is no reason this sleazebag should not be in prison"

    Doh!! You lost me there.

  • Zeb||

    Jane, you ignorant slut. Have you ever seen a girl squirt milk out of her fucking asshole? I haven't. It really isn't terribly hard to avoid if you are not interested in that sort of thing. And I believe that the proper standard for putting someone in prison should be that there is a damn good reason to put them in prison, not that there is no reason not to put them in prison.

  • some standards are good||

    What makes her ignorant, or a slut? "It really isn't terribly hard to avoid if you are not interested in that sort of thing." It use to be easy to avoid looking at asses before saggy pants and thongs too.

  • ||

    You are sadly unaware of the immortal SNL Weekend Update exchanges between Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd, back when that show was actually funny.

  • ||

    Jane, you ignorant slut. Who made you arbiter of all that is obscene?

  • Robert||

    Sure, but if a pattern develops of dismissals, eventually smart people conclude the law has been secretly de facto repealed, while the rubes are satisfied the law is still the law. That's the way you have to deal with some issues.

  • ||

    REASON THIS,

    JUST LIKE ILLEGAL DRUG LAWS, YOU ARREST HIM 1,000 MORE WILL TAKE HIS PLACE. NOW BACK TO MY MAGAZINE, BIGGINS

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