FSC Makes Additional Arguments Against 2257

May 3, 2010 4:30 PM PST
CANOGA PARK, Calif. — As requested by the judge, the Free Speech Coalition submitted a brief to the U.S. District Court today making additional arguments on two key issues in their case against 18 U.S.C. § § 2257 and 2257A.

According to court documents, FSC attorneys claim that “portions of the statutes and regulations are unconstitutionally vague” and say that “a law is unconstitutional if its provisions are so vague or imprecise that persons of ordinary intelligence must guess at its meaning and may differ in their understanding as to its application.”

Attorney J. Michael Murray told XBIZ that it’s difficult for anyone to know what images are covered.

“People are entitled to know what images require them to keep records,” he said.

More specifically, he added that statutory terms such as “actual or simulated sadistic or masochistic abuse, simulated lascivious exhibition of the genitals or public region and simulated masturbation” are vague, imprecise and therefore, unconstitutional.

The court documents further say that because of the sweeping and vague language of 2257 and 2257A, it is uncertain which types of images constitute sadomasochism that trigger the statute’s record keeping and labeling requirements.

The second key issue addressed is “the record keeping statutes violate the 5th Amendment.”

The documents say “the statutes allow the use of the information from the records that they compel to be created, maintained and inspected to be used as evidence in a criminal obscenity prosecution against the person required to create and maintain such records.”

In addition, the court papers say that when the law allows the government to use information contained in those records to prosecute related criminal actions, it violates the 5th Amendment’s prohibition against self-incrimination.

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