Sunday, January 23, 2005


I've gotten a few notes asking me about the outcome of the BOB awards. I'm reasonably sure that I did win in my category, although I still haven't heard anything official from the BOB awards folks. I'll let you all know when I do. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who voted for me, I very much appreciate it!

As a side note...I have heard from a number of sources that some people feel I may have won this unfairly, because I have a professional site, with my own domain, as well as this blog, and they felt that I was using that site to drive traffic here.

In fact, I never mentioned the contest on And what's also true is that that site gets less than 500 hits per day, as you can see here. Here on the blog, I get between 2500 and 3000 hits a day. So if any site is driving traffic anywhere, it's this blog driving it over to my professional site. (Which is just as I expected, and was, in fact, a consideration in starting the blog in the first place. It's all about marketing, kids. I'm a very serious girl when it comes to marketing.)

I think all the other nominees are excellent bloggers, and I was pleased to be in their company. I'm actually going to decline some of the prizes, like the free blog hosting for a year, so that will trickle down to one of the other finalists, and I hope they enjoy that.

A much bigger and more important win: Obscenity charges have been dismissed against Extreme Associates!
EA is a porn video company which makes pornography of an extreme nature. They shoot piss and scat, simulated rape, and simulated murder/snuff. They are edgy and they are nasty, no question about it. In 2003, the federal government arrested Robert Zicari and his wife, Janet Romano, the owners of Extreme Associates, on 9 counts of violating Federal obscenity statutes and 1 count of conspiracy.
I've seen one of EA's videos - Forced Entry - and I didn't particularly like it. But that doesn't alter the fact that they have a constitutional right to make it, and so I am quite pleased that the court found in their favor. Here's a quote from another blogger who knows more about the legal part of it than I do... (BEGIN QUOTE)

"On Thursday, January 20, 2005, Western District of Pennsylvania Federal Judge, Gary L. Lancaster dismissed all charges against Extreme and the individuals. The decision found the obscenity laws unconstitutional as it applied to this case, which means the laws are still technically valid on their face. However, if you read the decision, the Judge essentially destroys the government's ability to prosecute obscenity at all. You can read about the case here. The Court summarized its findings, stating:

We find that the federal obscenity statutes burden an individual's fundamental right to possess, read, observe, and think about what he chooses in the privacy of his own home by completely banning the distribution of obscene materials. As such, we have applied the strict scrutiny test to those statutes. The federal obscenity statutes fail the strict scrutiny test because they are not narrowly drawn to advance the asserted governmental interests of protecting minors and unwitting adults from exposure to obscene materials, as applied to these defendants and the facts of this case. Because the federal obscenity statutes are unconstitutional as applied, defendants' indictment must be dismissed.
In addition, the court also flatly rejected the right of the government to enforce laws to further the interest of "morality", since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned all laws which ban private consensual sodomy between adults in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003). Here the court said:

The Lawrence decision, however, is nevertheless important to this case. It can be reasonably interpreted as holding that public morality is not a legitimate state interest sufficient to justify infringing on adult, private, consensual, sexual conduct even if that conduct is deemed offensive to the general public's sense of morality. Such is the import of Lawrence to our decision.
This decision is a huge victory for individual liberty and freedom of speech.

However, I see a huge logic gap in the Judge's decision which may make it ripe for reversal on appeal.The decision to dismiss the charges was not based on the 1st Amendment. In fact, the court conceded that the 1st Amendment does not protect obscenity. See Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957). However, the Supreme Court has also ruled that the mere possession of obscenity in your home could not be prosecuted. See Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969).
Nonetheless, the government could (and did) freely prosecute anyone who distributes
obscenity. Here's what the judge did which appears somewhat curious. Judge Lancaster held that the 14th Amendment prohibits the government from prosecuting distributors of obscenity. Hence, it violates the Due Process clause of the Constitution to prosecute someone for distributing material which can be legally possessed.This means that even though obscenity is not protected by the 1st Amendment, the 14th Amendment protects an individual's right to possess and distribute obscenity. In other words, the government can make a law banning a form of speech (i.e. obscenity). However, they can't make it illegal to own it or distribute it. Under that logic, the entire concept of obscenity has become abrogated and essentially null and void. It's like giving the government a power, but not letting them actually use it.The government can choose to appeal this decision, and may have some grounds, as I've articulated.

Note: I applaud any decisions which protect freedom of speech, as this one does. However, I don't want to see good results overturned. Although there are risks for the government if they appeal. Since this is a trial level decision, it has no precedential effect on other jurisdictions. This means, that other courts can choose to ignore this decision entirely. If the government chooses to appeal and they lose in the Circuit Court or Supreme Court, then that decision would be binding on other courts.This decision may have a huge impact on the pending case of Nitke v. Ashcroft where the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is fighting to overturn the Communications Decency Act, which is a law banning obscenity on the internet. The lead attorney on the suit is jwirenius I encourage anyone who is interested in either sexual freedom or freedom of speech to check out the NCSF website and find out more. " (END QUOTE)

Great info, all of it...I don't usually quote people at such length, but hey, he said it so well... So rejoice, lovers of free speech.

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