First Federal Animal Crush Video Prosecution–Will It Hold Up?


A Houston man and woman were indicted Wednesday for producing “animal crush” videos, reports Politico. It was the first federal case brought under the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which was enacted after the Supreme Court ruled that a previous version of the law violated the First Amendment. Ashley Nicole Richards, 22, and Brent Justice, 51, were accused of producing eight videos that allegedly involve the torture and killing of puppies, chickens, and kittens.

In 2010, the Supreme Court struck down the old version of the law in a case involving a man who sold videos of dogfighting and of dogs attacking other animals. The court invalidated the law as overbroad. The new law prohibits videos videos involving animals that are “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury; and [ ] obscene.” University of Chicago law Prof. Geoffrey Stone said “this very complicated law [ ] does not add anything to the scope of what is criminal. So as long as we stipulate that the material has to be obscene to be prosecuted under the statute, then why don't you just prosecute you under the obscenity statute?”

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