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Porn Distributors Back in Court

Porn distributors Robert Zicari and Janet Romano thought they had finally reached an end to their long legal battle when Pittsburgh U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster dismissed a 10-count criminal indictment charging the couple with violating federal obscenity laws, ruling the laws unconstitutional.

However, a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision in U.S. v. Extreme Associates Inc. on Dec. 12, 2005, holding that the district court had incorrectly interpreted Supreme Court precedents.

Prosecutors charged the California owners of Extreme Associates in August 2003 for distributing pornographic tapes that depicted rape and murder. In his ruling, Lancaster cited Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck Texas anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional. The 3rd Circuit found Lawrence unrelated to obscenity laws and reinstated the indictment.

"Because we conclude that the District Court improperly set aside applicable Supreme Court precedent which has repeatedly upheld federal statues regulating the distribution of obscenity ?? 1/2 we will reverse," the 3rd Circuit ruling stated.

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