In California, it is a crime to distribute harmful material to minors. Section 288.2(a) and (b) provides the language “harmful material” but does not give a definition. In California, the prosecution must convince the jury that the material at issue meets the definition of harmful material.
Material is harmful if, when considered as a whole:
- it shows or describes sexual conduct in an obviously offensive way;
- a reasonable person would conclude that it lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors; and
- an average adult person, applying contemporary statewide standards, would conclude it appeals to prurient interest.
A prurient interest is a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion. Material, as used in Section 288.2, means any book, magazine, newspaper, video recording, or other printed or written material. It can also be any picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture, or other pictorial representation or any statue or other figure, recording, transcription, or mechanical, chemical, or electrical reproduction. Material also includes live or recorded telephone messages when transmitted or distributed as part of a commercial transaction.
Applying contemporary statewide standards means using present-day standards and determining the effect of the material on all those whom it is likely to reach within the state. In other words, it is to determine the impact of the material on the average person in the statewide community. The average adult person is a hypothetical person who represents the entire community, including both men and women; religious and nonreligious people; and adults of varying ages, educational and economic levels, races, ethnicities, and points of view.
The contemporary statewide standard means what is acceptable to the statewide community as a whole, not what some person or persons may believe the community ought to accept. The test the jury must apply is not what it find offensive based on its own personal, social, or moral views. Instead, the material must be judged by an objective determination of what would offend the statewide community as a whole.
If you or a loved one has been charged with distribution of harmful materials to a minor, you should call an experienced San Diego sex crime defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys have the skills and expertise to provide you with the best possible defense. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling harmful material distribution cases. In the internet age, it is very easy to suddenly find yourself charged with distributing harmful materials. The experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will aggressively defend your rights. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 1-877-230-1528 or through our website at www.wklaw.com.