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June 1, 2006

CBLDF Releases Lee Motion Info

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has released its information on the motions filed on behalf of Rome, Georgia retailer Gordon Lee after his new arraignment May 19 on two misdemeanor charges of "distribution of harmful to minors material" for giving to two minors a copy of Alternative Comics #2 during a Halloween promotion in 2004. That comic, intended as a giveaway and for adult customers, contained the depiction of incidental male nudity. The legal team assembled by the Fund had several charges dismissed in the course of the case moving forward, including the most severe. In a dramatic twist this spring right before an expected trial on remaining charges, the District Attorney claimed that not one but two boys had been given the comics (the original youth in question and a sibling), so therefore old charged must be dropped and new charges filed.

The legal motions made last Tuesday break down into two areas -- asking for dismissal on constitutional grounds, and asking for same on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. According to the Fund's press release, the Fund and their legal team of Alan Begner and Paul Cadle argue that the law:
1. The depictions and story are non-obscene protected material pursuant to the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution;
2. The State has no legitimate interest in banning non-obscene, non-sexually explicit nudity to minors under due process;
3. The proscriptions at issue, as applied to this material, in so far as it requires warning labels, ignores the fact that material with nudity, but not sexually explicit conduct is distributed throughout Floyd County without prosecution, in violation of equal protection guarantees;
4. The proscriptions at issue, as applied to this material, is arbitrary and capricious, in violations of due process;
5. The proscriptions at issue are overbroad because they make illegal material with simple nudity which were not intended to be proscribed, and for which the government has no legitimate reason to make illegal; and
6. The terms used in §§ 16-12-81 and 16-12-103 are vague because they fail to notify citizens and law enforcement as to what material (if any) with simple nudity is prohibited.

Again, according to the Fund's press release, they charge the District Attorney's office with prosecutorial misconduct for these reasons, linked to the dropped charges and new charges move:
1. It knew or should have known for approximately one and a half years that the allegations in the Indictment were false;
2. It allowed untruthful testimony to be presented in the Grand Jury, under oath;
3. It allowed untruthful testimony of the victim and the victim's family to be presented to the Grand Jury;
4. It did not tell defendant's counsel until a Sunday afternoon, eighteen (18) hours prior to trial, that the allegations contained in the Indictment were untrue, after much time and expense was incurred bringing out-of-state witnesses to Rome for trial.

The Fund has spent $60,000 on Lee's defense so far.

Here's the press release in full: lee_new_motions.doc
posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

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