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April 20, 2009

SCOTUS grants cert in three criminal cases (including the "animal porn" case)

As detailed in this postat SCOTUSblog, the Supreme Court this morning "has granted certiorari in three cases: Bloate v. USUS v. Stevens,  and Pottawattamie County et al. v. McGhee et al."  As revealed by these SCOTUSblog summaries, all these cases involve criminal justice issues:

Bloate v. US Issue:Whether time granted at the request of a defendant to prepare pretrial motions qualifies as “delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant” and is thus excludable from the time within which trial must commence under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974, 18 U.S.C. 3161 et seq.

US v. Stevens Issue: Is 18 U.S.C. 48, on depictions of  animal cruelty, facially invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment?

Pottawattamie County et al. v. McGhee et al. Issue: Whether a prosecutor may be subjected to a civil trial and potential damages for a wrongful conviction and incarceration where the prosecutor allegedly violated a criminal defendant’s “substantive due process” rights by procuring false testimony during the criminal investigation, and then introduced that same testimony against the criminal defendant at trial.

As noted in this post last summer about the Third Circuit's ruling in the Stevens case, the constitutionality of the federal criminal statute at issue in that case has potential implications for child porn prohibitions and also related sex crimes.  And, ironically, the very fact that the Supreme Court has taken up the Stevens case may lead more persons to become interested in the very behavior that the underlying criminal statute seeks to address.

UPDATE:  SCOTUSblog reports a little more on these grants here, and the AP has this explanation of the animal porn videos that helped bring these issues to the highest court in the land:

The Supreme Court will consider reviving a federal law banning the sale of images of animal cruelty. A federal appeals court said the law illegally restricts this form of free speech.... The government says it has a "compelling interest in protecting animals from wanton acts of cruelty."

The Humane Society of the United States, backing the government, says that the 1999 law played a critical role in stopping the spread of so-called crush videos that show women crushing to death small animals, often with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes.

April 20, 2009 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I can certainly understand people's rights, but when it comes to spreading videos and images of people committing carnal acts with animals, lets get real. That benefits no one. NO ONE.

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Posted by: lawonthestreet | Apr 20, 2009 3:26:50 PM

The problem with calling it animal porn is that the statute brings under its ambit plenty of material that is not porn and is not even meant to be particularly arousing.

Even with that it would greatly bother me if there were yet another carve out, especially one that covers activities that were not illegal where filmed.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Apr 20, 2009 7:20:02 PM

As to McGhee, Job 1 predicts, no, prosecutors may not be sued. Immunity is stealthy if unlawful industrial policy that grows a sector in accordance with the bias of the cult criminal on the Supreme Court. They want to generate lawyer jobs. The prosecution generates a defense and a cush, do nothing job for the lazy government worker on the bench.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 20, 2009 9:11:34 PM

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