Thursday, November 14, 2013

Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton case brief

Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton case brief summary
413 U.S. 49 (1973)

Respondent law enforcement officials filed civil complaints under O.G.C.A. § 26-2101 to enjoin petitioner theater owners' exhibition of obscene films. The state trial court dismissed the complaints based on the First Amendment. After the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the state trial court's ruling and determined that the injunctions should have been issued, the theater owners sought review by certiorari.

After the determination that the theater owners could be enjoined from showing obscene films, the owners sought certiorari. The Court vacated and remanded. As obscene material was not protected by the First Amendment and as the state procedure provided adequate due process, the Court upheld a ruling that obscene materials did not acquire constitutional immunity from regulation simply because they were shown only to consenting adults. As there were legitimate state interests at stake in regulating the films, scientific data demonstrating damage from exposure to the obscene films was unnecessary.


  • The Court rejected the claims that the right to see obscene films was guaranteed by the First Amendment or other constitutional privacy guarantees and that conduct directly involving "consenting adults" had a special constitutional status. 
  • As the state had a legitimate interest in regulating commerce in obscene material and in regulating public exhibition of obscene films, nothing precluded the regulation of such materials provided that the applicable state law met the First Amendment standards set forth in Miller v. California.

The Court vacated the order that reversed the dismissal of the complaints and remanded the case, directing the Georgia Supreme Court to consider whether the statute under which the injunctions had been sought satisfied certain newly articulated First Amendment standards and requirements.

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