Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
alex kozinski, obscenity

Judge Kozinski Cleared Of Trumped Up Charges

from the good-news dept

You may remember last year that there was a bunch of attention paid to Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit appeals court supposedly having "pornographic" or "obscene" images and videos posted to his own web server just as he was deciding a big obscenity trial. While it made for great headlines, as the details became clear, the whole thing became an obvious witch hunt that was falsely portrayed in the press. First, the content in question was often described as pornographic or obscene (with some including claims of "defecation" or "bestiality") but that wasn't quite accurate. One of the videos was apparently a video of a guy trying to go to the bathroom in the wilderness when a horse or some other animal discovered him (I haven't seen it, but read the description) -- which seems like the sort of funny "home videos" you see all the time. Hardly "obscene" in the classical sense. Furthermore, the judge had not really shared this content (most of which was widely available all over the internet) but had merely stored it on his home server, which happened to have been configured incorrectly such that someone found a way in. The person who found it was someone who had a great dislike of Kozinski and had been shopping this "story" for quite some time, and the LA Times sat on it until this obscenity case came along.

So given all that, it's good to hear that the "investigation" into the matter has now ended with Kozinski basically getting a slap on the wrist saying Kozinski made mistake, apologized for it, and won't let it happen again, but it certainly has no bearing on his ability to judge various cases, even ones involving obscenity. The whole thing was basically a show trial brought on by someone who clearly had it out for Kozinski, so it's good to hear that it's over.

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