Thursday, August 21, 2008

Virginia is for lovers. . . or, well, maybe not

Watch out, porn merchants, both the Commonwealth and the Federal Government are comin' to get ya!

A taste of the trial:
For most of the movie, Jones says, the only thing that offended him was the low production value.

"It looked like they just hired four hookers and shot it in a warehouse," he says.

Finally, at 4:18pm an actress screamed out for her partner(s) to, er, finish "on my f***ing face!" and (spoiler alert) evidently someone complied with the request, for so too did the movie finish. At that point, Wood called for a brief recess, during which several gallery members stepped out for a cigarette and, because it was raining, a shower.

However, watching all the naughty material almost ended up for naught. When the jury returned, the prosecution called as a witness Dr. Mary Anne Laydon, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist specializing in rehabilitating the victims and perpetrators of sex crimes, and perhaps a welcome change of pace for the jury, considering that she was a woman wearing clothes. When Buzzelli asked Laydon to evaluate a still image from Sugar Britches, she testified, "The female has no pubic hair, no breasts, an angular body type. Typically this is someone whose body has not yet fully developed sexually. In most industrialized countries, this occurs at the age of 12."

Cambria sprang up to object.

"Right from the beginning," Cambria said, "the Commonwealth has tried to make this an underage case. They have no proof and no good-faith basis to allege that any one of these performers is underage, and I move for a mistrial."

Buzzelli, having made this argument in federal court before, protested vehemently.

"It speaks for itself, that girl is clearly made to look like a child!" he said.

Robertson went one step further.

"It's no accident she looks the way she does," he said. "This film does appeal to pedophiles. Pedophiles will buy this film and get off on it!"

Wood wasn't buying it.

"Give me a break!" he said. "You're saying she's like a child because she has small breasts? I saw these movies; every one of these women was shaved!"
Read the whole thing--it's perhaps the best article about a court case I have ever read.

The truth is stranger than fiction, no error. Once again, we have people being turned into criminals for conducting what somewhere else would be perfectly legal. Obscentiy prosecutions are absolutely unique, in that the jury is asked not just to apply the law, but to base its decision on "contemporary community standards." That means there are potentially different results in different localities, even in the same state, which is a tricky thing indeed.

It's also difficult for me to see the value of a prosecution like this -- does Mr. Robertson actually think he's going to keep porn out of Staunton? I mean, he must have heard of the internet by now...