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Should Litigants in Obscenity Case Before Judge Kozinski Moo-ve for a Mistrial?

OK -- so maybe you thought that Judge Kozinski was just a tad bit kinky when he actively lobbied for a nomination as a judicial hottie in a competition sponsored by David Lat's  previous blog, Underneath Their Robes. Then again, you may have given Kozinski the benefit of the doubt, figuring that his quest for hottie-status arose out of a weird sense of humor or perhaps a competitive urge to keep a level playing field between himself and his then-fellow circuit comrade, John Roberts

Now it turns out that perhaps Judge Kozinski does have a bit of a kinky side after all. Today, as Judge Kozinski is sitting as trial judge by designation in the obscentity trial of "shock artist" Ira Isaacs, reports have emerged that Kozinski himself maintained his own publicly accessible Web site featuring sexually explicit photos and videos. The images (no longer accessible since the judge's site, has been taken down) included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal, according to the LA Times.  Kozinski, who described the materials at his site as "odd and interesting...part of life" says he was not aware that aware the images could be seen by the public.

While disclosure of obscene photos on a judge's Web site can be embarrassing, the larger problem for Kozinski at the moment is that he's acting as judge in an obscenity trial at the same time. New York University ethics expert Stephen Gillers recommended that Kozinski recuse himself from the Isaacs case to avoid any questions about objectivity, but beyond that, sees no ethical bar to Kozinski continuing to sit on the bench. Apparently, the photos, while arguably prurient, do not violate any laws.

For further coverage, see Above the Law, Professor Bainbridge and WSJ Law Blog.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 11, 2008 at 04:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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