RECOMMENDATION 19

Part: 
Three
Chapter: 
2

State and Local prosecutors must make a careful assessment of the obscenity problem in their jurisdictions, identify offenders involving both adult and child material, and commence prosecution without further delay

There is no substitute for an aggressive prosecutor who will vigorously enforce the existing obscenity laws. Prosecutors in Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Cincinnati, Ohio, have compiled impressive records in enforcing the laws of those states.

For sixteen years[239] the Solicitor for Fulton County, Georgia, aggressively prosecuted any obscenity violation brought to the attention of that office. As a result Atlanta now has no theatres or bookstores which show or sell materials that would be found obscene under Miller.[240] Consistent enforcement efforts have had a substantial deterrent effect.[241]

In Cincinnati, there are no bookstores, movies or cable television programs which are sexually explicit and would be found obscene under Miller.[242] The chief of the Cincinnati vice squad attributed this result to "a strong prosecutor and a prosecutor willing to accept the cases and go ahead and prosecute."[243]

In Houston, prosecution of pornography cases has been a high priority and the prosecutor has maintained a conviction rate of ninety-two percent while handling over two hundred cases per year.[244]

For the past fifteen years, only one detective on the Miami, Florida, police department has been assigned to investigate obscenity violations.[245] During that time, this investigator has brought over one thousand cases for prosecution and a conviction was obtained in every case.[246] The number of "adults only" pornographic outlets in Miami has decreased during this same period from twenty-three to eight.[247]

Local law enforcement agents should also seek assistance from federal agencies to effectively combat organized crime involvement in pornography when identified. According to a local law enforcement officer, "Without the mutual exchange of information of the joint task force, local law enforcement cannot and will not be able to cope with the situation of organized crime and the delivery and dissemination of pornography..."[248]

State and local prosecutors must accept the challenge and enforce the existing laws stringently and consistently so that purveyors of obscene material will find no haven in their jurisdictions. These efforts should be based upon an evaluation of the relative harmful effects of materials available.[249] This evaluation should include particular consideration of explicitly violent materials and materials which are humiliating or degrading.

Notes

  1. Chicago Hearing, Vol. II, Hinson McAuliffe, p. 177.
  2. Id., p. 185.
  3. Id., pp. 185-86.
  4. Chicago Hearing, Vol. I, Harold Mills, p. 93.
  5. Id.
  6. Houston Hearing, Vol. I, W.D. Brown, p. 49.
  7. Miami Hearing, Vol. 1, Mike Berish, p. 63.
  8. Id., p. 64.
  9. Id., p. 63.
  10. New York Hearing, Vol. II, William Johnson, p. 82.
  11. See, The discussion of Harms, supra.