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Jurors Watch Four Hours of Porn

Eyes Jurors in the obscenity trial of a Virginia adult video store were required to sit through nearly four hours of "adult entertainment" in a Staunton courtroom yesterday. After showing the jury the videos, prosecutors rested their case against the owner and an employee of After Hours Video. The pair face misdemeanor charges of obscenity -- and up to two years in jail -- for two DVDs purchased at the store by undercover agents.

So how well did the jurors stand up to this ordeal? Some took notes, others stifled yawns. Staunton's local newspaper, The News Leader, provides this account:

The jury viewed two DVDs in their entirety Thursday -- nearly four hours of graphic images -- as the prosecution sought to portray the movies as obscene. With a movie screen facing the jury, courtroom observers essentially watched the jury watch the movies. Some on the jury chuckled at times, others took notes and many stifled yawns, but all remained attentive throughout the videos, which were filled with wall-to-wall sex scenes and scant dialogue.

Prosecutors also presented the testimony of an expert witness in human sexual psychopathology, who provided her opinion that the two films were without scientific value, one of the three elements of the obscenity case. Defense lawyers tried to discredit her testimony by pointing out that she had once referred to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue as pornography, but she said she had been merely quoting a news report. When prosecutors then sought to qualify the city's former police chief as an expert on community standards, the judge turned them down. "Based on the cases I've read, he isn't an expert," the judge said. The defense was to begin its case today.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 15, 2008 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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