+1 (902) 468 3066 dbb@burnsidelaw.net

Constitutional: Interesting Article from AlterNet Relevant to Community Standards in Obscenity Cases



Full credit to AlterNet and author Alex Henderson.  Henderson’s article, titled “The Bible Belt’s Love Affair with Gay & Straight Porn,” documents the arguable reality involving individuals in states within the Deep South:  their affection for porn.  Henderson cites a study that reflects that — in private — the desire to view porn is a bit more significant than otherwise normally anticipated.

This same argument was confirmed in a case I handled a few years back — involving an obscenity prosecution in NW Florida.  In my client’s defense, I was able to check for certain search terms within Google Trends to determine the number of searches within a given municipal region.  For example, I could contrast the number of times that people in and around Pensacola, Florida, used Google to search for “NASCAR,” and for the searches for “porn.”  There were many uses of this compare/contrast through Google Trends.  So, what was discovered?  Well, let us just say that the results match the results now being discussed in Henderson’s article.

Why is this important in the context of an obscenity case?  Because, under the Supreme Court’s 29-year old holding in Miller v. California, whether something is “obscene” is to be determined — in part — upon this notion of “contemporary community standards.”  Therefore, in order to successfully defend a case such as the one in NW Florida, a competent criminal defense/white collar/constitutional litigation attorney needs to gather insight into the standards of that particular community.  Google Trends provided me, and my litigation mentor, Jerry Mooney, with that necessary insight.  As a result, we were able to use these results to positive effect in the litigation.

Actually, just simply fascinating stuff ….





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *