Federal Judge On Obscenity Case Posted Porn Images On His Web Server

from the is-that-good-or-bad? dept

A lot of attention is suddenly getting turned on judge Alex Kozinski, the 9th Circuit chief judge, who (while in the middle of a trial about obscenity) was discovered to have posted pornographic images to his web server in a way in which they were accessible to the public. He didn't post them to a specific page or anything. It's just that he put them in an unprotected directory, and if you knew where to look, you could find them. Basically, it looks like he was just using the directory for personal storage, not realizing that it was publicly accessible, though, at one point he appears to claim he uploaded the images by accident. Some of the images were... extreme. Judge Kozinski described them as "funny" and "I think it's odd and interesting. It's part of life."

Some are saying that he should recuse himself from the obscenity trial, noting that he's no longer objective. However, considering that obscenity is supposed to be based on local standards, that doesn't seem right. If even the judge finds those types of images "funny" or "interesting" and "a part of life," then perhaps that's making it pretty clear that they're not obscene. Saying he needs to recuse himself seems to be presupposing that the images are obscene, which doesn't seem quite right. Rather than being used as a way to tar the judge, doesn't this just raise questions about obscenity laws in the first place?
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Filed Under: alex kozinski, judges, obscenity

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  1. icon
    Jason (profile), 12 Jun 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Not the point!


    The case is not about obscenity. The case is about the law, and obscenity law is about the first amendment. Obscenity case law deals with loads of minutia involving format, method of distribution, number of violations and degree of criminality.

    Any physical videos produced might be cut and dry decisions, but any stuff on his hard drive, or on websites, email attachments, etc. directly impacts decisions on how many counts and exactly what types of violations occurred.

    Additionally, anything from this case that goes to publication could be used in further cases that don't involve obscenity at all but if they share a parallel issue, then the case can be cited and the citation could ultimately be decisive in a non-obscenity case.

    If Time Warner et. al actually are successful in blocking Usenet on their networks to protect against obscenity, any statement he would have made that referenced format or method of distribution would have had direct impact on non-obscenity related topics.

    This judge doesn't even know how to click on his "View my profile" link. How is he going to be able to gauge the broader impact of the statements in his findings or rulings on other free speech cases?

    So, yes his complete demonstration of technical savior fail matters here.

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