Appeals court panel upholds obscenity conviction for 'shock' pornographer Ira Isaacs

U.S. -

A 3-judge appeals court panel upheld a lower court ruling convicting Ira Isaacs— the producer of the scat fetish pornographic film "2 girls 1 cup"— of producing obscene videos on March 25, 2014.

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Isaac's lawyer says he will be speaking with his client about appealing the ruling to the full 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court. Isaac has been out on bail as his case moves through the courts.

"I have totally rejected during the course of the trial that he's a 'shock' artist… He has cloaked himself as a First Amendment defendant. But the fact is that he did it for money. He's not a defender of the First Amendment. He cheapens the First Amendment." U.S. District Court Judge George King

At issue in the trial was whether Isaacs is an artist or produced obscene work to make money. Isaacs argued that the First Amendment protects his work because he's a "shock" artist.

The lower court sentenced Isaacs to 4 years in prison for producing, distributing and selling obscene videos in Jan. 2013. In Apr. 2012, the self-proclaimed California "shock" artist was convicted of 5 felony obscenity charges at a jury trial in Los Angeles.

To determine if the video was art, jurors in 2012 had to apply a 3-step test used in the 1973 Supreme Court case Miller v. California. The test asks if the piece in question appeals to prurient interest, if it depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and whether the piece lacks serious artistic value.

As in any obscenity trial, the jurors in 2012 had to view the work in question to determine whether it has artistic value. Some of the films they sat through depicted bestiality and human excrement fetishes. The jury handed down the guilty verdict after deliberating for 2 hours.

The case against Isaacs resulted in two mistrials before he was convicted. One trial ended because of publicity regarding the judge, who was found to have posted sexually-explicit material to a publicly accessible personal website. The other trial ended in a hung jury.

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