Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 14, 2009

CBLDF Charles Brownstein On The Christopher Handley Case And Yesterday’s Analysis of Same

Yesterday an editorial about the Christopher Handley case and a long, academically-footnoted article about the Christopher Handley and Dwight Whorley cases appeared on-line. I haven't been following the Handley story as closely as I might, so I left reading those two pieces slightly confused about some of the particulars. Thankfully, CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein talked me through some of them.

imageFirst, Brownstein noted that the Fund is serving as a special consultant to the defense, not managing that defense in the manner with which we're most accustomed to seeing them involved. "That means that our involvement is limited to providing First Amendment and other specialized expertise that the defense uses in building its case," Brownstein told CR. Brownstein is therefore not able to comment on strategy, partly because that's not their purview and partly because they're simply not involved as much in strategic matters. So if the Handley is considering a guilty plea, the Fund may not even be aware of this and certainly isn't involved in a way that not pleading guilty would have been a precursor to their coming aboard.

Asked whether or not he agreed with the argument made in the article that the root of the Handley prosecution comes from a mealy-mouthed decision made by a presiding judge, Brownstein offered that "From the Fund's point of view, the heart of this case is bad law. The content provisions of 1466A of the PROTECT Act are an area we have been following since the law was first passed, and it is law we believe is unconstitutional. It is my hope that we are able to see this law defeated in court." Brownstein did however state that while he personally thought there were a variety of reasons why the case came against Handley came together, he did understand the argument on the point, and thought it a legitimate point of conjecture. Despite that potential difference, Brownstein generally recommends the article to people with "an interest in manga, free speech, and the CBLDF would do well to read it attentively."

Brownstein was unable to put a timeline to future developments in the case.
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink

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