How Obscenity Laws Snare the Innocent
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Published in: January-February 2010 issue.


RECENTLY I completed a federal prison sentence for receiving and possessing a few items identified as child pornography. Federal postal inspectors sent them to me because my name appeared on the mailing list of James Kemmish, an adult porn distributor who was caught at the border with some illegal videos recently filmed in Mexico. I had previously purchased some pornographic films from James Kemmish’s California company, films that stated in print that all actors were age eighteen and older, but the government applied a phony technique called the Tanner Method, designed by a Doctor James Tanner, to convince the jury that these models were actually under eighteen.

During the time I was being indicted, the judge in the separate Kemmish case ultimately sealed the list of his customers’ names. There were several thousand of them, and since Kemmish’s company had been in business for years and had advertised in all the major gay media, it was obvious that his customers were looking for and purchasing adult material, films that were not illegal. I was one of the last victims prosecuted prior to the sealing of the mailing list.

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