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Does a Painting from the Year 1480 Constitute Pornography?

If you are an adult who has recently been arrested on Florida or federal sex crime charges or solicitation of a minor, you might remember the public discussion of pornography that took place several decades ago during the Clinton Administration.

Authorities decided that “you know pornography when you see it.” But truth be told, what constitutes pornography will always be subjective.

In that context, consider a raucous legal debate over an art book that features lascivious works from the Middle Ages. Should it be banned from prison because it’s pornography?

44-year-old Dwight Pink, a convicted murderer serving a 56-year-old prison sentence for shooting a man in the head and then stabbing him in the heart with a sword, wants to learn renaissance painting techniques in jail. But in 2012, the State of Connecticut banned pornography in jail, excepting “materials which, taken as a whole, are literary, artistic, educational, or scientific in nature.” This ban includes certain instructional art books.

Pink has sued Connecticut, saying that the prison has denied his Constitutional right to free speech. In 2012, another prisoner challenged the ban, but the judge denied him saying, “although prisoners do not forfeit all their Constitutional rights upon incarceration, the fact of incarceration and the needs of the prison system impose limits on prisoner’s Constitutional rights, even those derived from the First Amendment.”

The deeper story here involves defining when and how people should have access to certain materials that could be deemed offensive. For instance, an adult who looks at “regular” pornography in certain contexts is not committing a crime. Whereas an adult who looks at pornography involving children IS committing a crime that can lead to years, potentially decades, behind bars.

The legal system will obviously continue to debate when and how and where certain images can be viewed, reflecting changing societal tastes.

Do you have practical and urgent questions about a Florida pornography or solicitation defense? Contact the team here atSeltzer Mayberg, LLC, at 1-888-THE DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for a sensitive and effective free consultation about your rights.

Categories: Cyber Crimes
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