High Court Upholds Porn Convictions

The U.S. Supreme Court last week let stand the convictions of two North Carolina men accused of distributing pornographic films.

By upholding the convictions of Jim St. John and Curtis Rene Peterson, the high court also let stand a lower court’s decision barring the defendants from introducing into evidence public opinion polls showing that most local residents did not consider the films obscene.

Attorneys for St. John and Peterson argued that since the Supreme Court has held that “contemporary community standards” is a basis for applying obscenity laws, public opinion polls should be considered at trial. St. John and Peterson claimed that most of the 129 individuals selected at random to view the films in their home county did not believe them to be obscene.

A federal court in Charlotte, N.C., agreed that polls should be considered in obscenity cases,” but the decision was overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

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