In an apparent violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller vs. California, Judge Richard J. Leon ruled this afternoon that the jury which will judge the legality of the two videos and one trailer distributed by John Stagliano Inc. may render its decision by viewing only portions of the charged videos, and that in no case will the prosecution be required to play the entire movies in court, nor will the defense be allowed to play whatever portions the government fails to play during the defense case.
The Supreme Court’s Miller test uses the phrase “taken as a whole” in two of its three prongs: the first (“prurient interest”) and the third (“serious literary, artistic, political and scientific value”); however, Judge Leon termed the playing of the full movies to be “repetitive” and “a needless consumption of time.”
“I will not allow the defendants to play the full-length movies in their entirety,” the judge stated in an opinion to be published later.
According to the judge, a jury need not see an entire movie in order to judge either its prurient appeal or its validity scientifically or artistically; they can infer those attributes by seeing short samples of the works and hearing the remainder summarized from the witness stand.
The impact of this ruling, if upheld by higher courts, could be disastrous for the adult industry and would take the entire body of obscenity law back to the 1950s.
AVN has also learned that even when the portions of the movies are played in the courtroom, no spectators, including most press, will be allowed to see or hear them, as the TV monitors will be turned toward the jury only. Jurors and two local journalists will be supplied with headphones through which to hear the movies’ soundtracks. It is rumored that the organization Reporters Committee for a Free Press has filed a complaint with the District of Columbia court requesting to see and hear the movies in the courtroom at the same time as the jury.
Check back with AVN.com later on this important development.
Update from the trial, 4 p.m. Eastern Time: FBI Special Agent Daniel Bradley, currently on the witness stand, testified that it was he who ordered the DVDs Milk Nymphos and Storm Squirters 2 from a company called BTMMailorder.com, located in Baltimore, and had them sent to an undercover post office box in Washington, D.C.
On the witness stand, Bradley described the front and back covers of Milk Nymphos. At present, court personnel are attempting to play a scene from Milk Nymphos 2 for the jury.