The landmark Supreme Court case of Miller v. California held that the test for determining whether something that is published is subject to regulation as obscenity has the following three prongs:
(a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable . . . law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. ]
Though Miller involved application of a state obscenity statute, the Miller test has subsequently been found to define regulated speech for purposes of federal obscenity statutes such as 1462 and 1465, as well. Hamling v. United States, 418 U.S. 87, 106 (1974); United States v. Schales, 546 F.3d 965, 973 (9th Cir. 2008). A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case ruled that a national standard of obscenity should apply to the internet because of its broad geographic area. In other words, a jury in Alabama will receive the same instruction and definition on obscenity as a jury in Alaska or California.
This ruling is particularly important for anyone who has been charged with disseminating obscenities over the internet. It is no longer up to the moral code of the jury to decide what an obscenity is; rather, the court will give a standard definition and allow the jury to decide if the dissemination fits that definition.
If you or a loved one has been charged with disseminating obscenities over the internet, you should call the skilled Southern California sex crime defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling complex criminal matters like internet obscenities. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (877) 466-5245 for more information.