Thursday, November 7, 2013

Miller v. California case brief

Miller v. California case brief summary
413 U.S. 15 (1973)

Defendant sought review of the judgment from the Appellate Department, Superior Court of California, County of Orange, affirming his conviction for violating Cal. Penal Code § 311.2(a)by knowingly distributing obscene matter.

Defendant mailed brochures that contained pictures of sexually explicit activities to individuals who had not requested the material, and the individuals notified the police. After a trial, defendant was convicted of violating Cal. Penal Code § 311.2(a) by knowingly distributing obscene matter. The Court defined the standards that were to be used to identify obscene material that a state might regulate without infringing on the First Amendment, applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court held that the standard to determine whether material was obscene was whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, not national standards, would find that the work appealed to the prurient interest, whether the work depicted sexual conduct defined by state law, and whether the work lacked serious literary, artistic, or scientific value. The Court vacated and remanded the state court's decision.


The court vacated the state court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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