Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on N.H. pornograhy/prostitution case

For more on the ruling I discussed yesterday, see coverage at AVN. For more on the facts of the case, see coverage at the Concord Monitor. Something I left out before: our bailiff and would-be-pornography was also convicted on a second prostitution charge involving another couple, and in that case he offered to pay them only to watch, not to videotape. He challenged that conviction on the basis that the prostitution law was overbroad on its face because it could apply to protected speech, but the N.H. court held that the law was facially valid, and its application to protected speech could be challenged in a case that actually implicated that concern.

This week's decision overturning the second conviction was that as-applied challenge. So our defendant still stands convicted in the first case, because he didn't plan to film the action. Notably, the county prosecutor may be considering charging him again in the other case, and attempting to prove that his purpose was in fact personal sexual gratification, not making a film -- in which case it would still be constitutional.

I think the distinction drawn here between paying for others to have sex for the purpose of film and paying for others to have sex for the purpose of getting your personal jollies is somewhat problematic, because the two are far from mutually exclusive. It gets more complicated when you add in the scenario of the director-as-performer. The moral of the story, perhaps, is this: don't try to use "making pornography" as a mere cover for paid personal sexual gratification; you may still fall afoul of the law.

1 comment:

Aviva said...

I get the difference between paying someone to have sex on camera and paying someone to have sex with you, but it strikes me as a much muddier distinction between paying someone to have sex you can get off while watching and paying someone to have sex others (who pay you for the privilege) can get off while watching. Oh, the law is strange...