Feds Move Porn Case From MT To New Jersey

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The Justice Department is moving a pornography prosecution out of socially conservative Montana to more urbane New Jersey, suggesting that the new administration may be stepping back from the aggressive approach the Bush administration took to prosecuting obscenity, reports Politico.com. “This is a substantial change of position,” said Louis Sirkin, who has represented many in the pornography industry, including Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. Says former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School: “These cases are fraught with problems and are not a high priority.”

The case involves Barry Goldman, 58, of Jersey City, who was indicted by a New Jersey federal grand jury for shipping what prosecutors said were obscene DVDs to Virginia and Montana. Goldman allegedly operated a web-based business called the “Torture Portal.” Goldman was indicted by a federal grand jury in Montana last August for some of the same shipments, which he unwittingly made to the FBI. Justice Department prosecutors challenged a federal judge's ruling transferring the case to New Jersey–before abruptly dropping the fight in May and agreeing to the transfer. Since a 1973 Supreme Court decision required juries to assess “contemporary community standards” in obscenity cases, the venue for such prosecutions has become a pivotal issue. Critics of Republican administrations have accused them of deliberately bringing such cases in conservative places like Tennessee, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

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