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June 12, 2008

What should we make of Judge Kozinski's porn postings?

Here's the start of a fascinating porn and judging story broken by the Los Angeles Times today:

A closely watched obscenity trial in Los Angeles federal court was suspended Wednesday after the judge acknowledged maintaining his own publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, granted a 48-hour stay in the obscenity trial of a Hollywood adult filmmaker after the prosecutor requested time to explore "a potential conflict of interest concerning the court having a . . . sexually explicit website with similar material to what is on trial here."

In an interview Tuesday with The Times, Kozinski acknowledged posting sexual content on his website.  Among the images on the site were a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal.  He defended some of the adult content as "funny" but conceded that other postings were inappropriate.

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends.  After the interview Tuesday evening, he blocked public access to the site.

Kozinski is one of the nation's highest-ranking judges and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court.  He was named chief judge of the 9th Circuit last year and is considered a judicial conservative on most issues.  He was appointed to the federal bench by President Reagan in 1985.

After publication of an latimes.com article about his website Wednesday morning, the judge offered another explanation for how the material might have been posted to the site.  Tuesday evening he had told The Times that he had a clear recollection of some of the most objectionable material and that he was responsible for placing it on the Web.  By Wednesday afternoon, as controversy about the website spread, Kozinski was seeking to shift responsibility, at least in part, to his adult son, Yale. "Yale called and said he's pretty sure he uploaded a bunch of it," Kozinski wrote in an e-mail to Abovethelaw.com, a legal news website.  "I had no idea, but that sounds right because I sure don't remember putting some of that stuff there."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed concern about Kozinski's website. "If this is true, this is unacceptable behavior for a federal court judge," she said in a statement.

How Appealing and WSJ Law Blog have lots more on this developing story, including links to additional MSM coverage of the controversy.  I am not sure what exactly to make of this story, so I am interested in reader reactions either defending or attacking a renown federal judge.

UPDATE:  Interesting ruminations can be found at Concurring Opinion in this post, fittingly titled "Judges Gone Wild."

June 12, 2008 at 02:29 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Q:What should we make of Judge Kozinski's porn postings?

A: broach or a hat or a pterodactyl!

Posted by: S.cotus | Jun 12, 2008 6:17:47 AM

Should make for an interesting "community standards" argument.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 12, 2008 9:58:01 AM

Great, now Kozinsky will be impeached and thrown in prison for porn. Too bad, I really like Judge Kozinski.

Posted by: bruce | Jun 12, 2008 10:37:49 AM

it's none of anyone's business what is on his site or computer. he broke no laws. in fact, the current obscenity law isn't a law at all, it's an OPINION.

we are not a true capitalist society with such laws on the books. get rid of the republicrats!

Posted by: bad girl | Jun 12, 2008 11:40:27 AM

Judge Kozinski thought his posting was private. Maybe it was. Maybe someone hacked his page and made un-private. Maybe not. Worth a look.

Posted by: George | Jun 12, 2008 12:32:11 PM

Nobody "hacked" his page in the legal sense. A lawyer that doesn't like him found out that he left part of it unprotected by a password. See http://patterico.com/2008/06/12/exclusive-kozinskis-porn-images-from-judge-alex-kozinskis-web-site/#comments

Posted by: S.cotus | Jun 12, 2008 12:43:37 PM

My first reaction was in accordance with Zack. If "a renown federal judge" in the same community has similar material, then the community standards test is more likely not to be met in this case. Maybe Kozinski does have a conflict of interest because he'll need to be called as a witness on this material not being obscene.

In fact, the best defense in obscenity cases is to show what type of pornographic material is available and disseminated in that community.

Posted by: a | Jun 12, 2008 12:50:24 PM

S.cotus, that's what I meant. Maybe it was password or privacy protected but someone hacked it to make it no longer so. Anyone with administrative access to the page could do that. Or someone could have done a password attack and discovered the password and changed the settings. Or his computer itself could be compromised with something like a keylogger that transmitted the password to a hacker who could then change the settings.

It's also possible the Judge did not realize he left it with public settings without password protection.

Posted by: George | Jun 12, 2008 1:37:36 PM

I thought for sure I would look here and see a comment by federalist on this "Reagan appointee," similar to how he is so quick to comment on those damn "Clinton" appointees.

Posted by: fair and balanced | Jun 12, 2008 3:19:27 PM

I am sure that Federalist meant to say something. Maybe it slipped his mind.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jun 12, 2008 9:44:20 PM

BESIDES ALL OF THAT, CYRUS SANAI HAS A BROTHER LAWYER FREDRIC SANI IN MCMINNVILLE OREGON (ASSISTANT COUNTY COUNSEL) WHO IS AS VICIOUS AND UNETHICAL AS THEY COME. I WAS THE RECIPEINT OF HIS LIES AND UNJUSTICE.

Posted by: SANDY | Dec 6, 2008 7:31:51 PM

BESIDES ALL OF THAT, CYRUS SANAI HAS A BROTHER LAWYER FREDRIC SANI IN MCMINNVILLE OREGON (ASSISTANT COUNTY COUNSEL) WHO IS AS VICIOUS AND UNETHICAL AS THEY COME. I WAS THE RECIPEINT OF HIS LIES AND UNJUSTICE.

Posted by: SANDY | Dec 6, 2008 7:33:02 PM

This ruling is obsurd. First of all, was this his personal website or his federal website? If it is his personal website, he should be removed from the bench because how can someone make fair and impartial judgements when he clearly a sexual deviant. Next, and most importantly, if this freak is using his federal website to house this filth, he definitely with no questions asked, should be removed from the bench because viewing pornography on a government controlled website is grounds for immediate termination and is against the law. Viewing pornography is also illegal, because there are husbandry laws that are in question here. If he enjoys and/or is aroused by animal pornography, he is not fit to parent, let alone make judiciary decisions. I like to take a deboning knife and remove his bone from his prone.

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