NIXON, District Judge:
Plaintiffs by this action seek to enjoin the enforcement of a Mississippi obscenity statute against the public showing of the motion picture film entitled "Candy". The statute in question, Section 2286, Mississippi Code Annotated,
On January 31, 1969, three police officers, Major John Chamblee, Detective Larry Fisher and Detective Joe Alford, purchased tickets at the Paramount Theater in Jackson, Mississippi and viewed the film "Candy" in its entirety. At the conclusion of this showing, the Manager, James I. Hosey, and the projectionist, Joe Kurgier, were arrested and the print of the film used in the showing was seized. There was no prior judicial hearing as to the obscenity of this film and the arrest and seizure were not made pursuant to any warrant. Subsequently, a general affidavit was signed against ABC Mid-South Theatres, Inc., a Delaware corporation licensed to do business in Mississippi, who was the exhibitor and licensee of the film. All of the plaintiffs herein were convicted in the Municipal Court of the City of Jackson for violating the Mississippi Statute and have appealed to the County Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. The parties have agreed to await this Court's ruling before proceeding further in the State Court.
The plaintiffs contend that the Mississippi statute under consideration is vague and overbroad and should therefore be declared invalid. The primary basis for this attack is the failure of the statute to include any definition of the word "obscene." The defendants contend, however, that the inclusion of an obscenity definition within the statute is unnecessary as the standards presently applicable, as enumerated by the Supreme Court, can and will be applied in any criminal prosecution thereunder.
The standard for obscenity, as defined in Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 77 S.Ct. 1304, 1 L.Ed.2d 1498 (1957), is: "Whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest" in sex. A modification or perhaps a clarification of the obscenity definition began with Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 191-192, 84 S.Ct. 1676, 12 L.Ed.2d 793 (1964) and continued to the present tripartite test enumerated in Memoirs v. Massachusetts.
In Mishkin v. New York, 383 U.S. 502, 86 S.Ct. 958, 16 L.Ed.2d 56 (1966) the Supreme Court modified the prurient appeal requirement of Roth to "social realities by permitting the appeal of this type of material to be assessed in terms of the sexual interest of its intended and probable recipient group * * *"
It is thus evident that a precise definition of what actually constitutes obscenity has evolved through a long series of Supreme Court decisions, and to say the evolution is complete would certainly be an unfounded prognostication. The question before the Court is thus whether a criminal obscenity statute must incorporate by legislative act all present and necessarily future tests for obscenity as enunciated by the Supreme Court in order to be valid.
The answer to this query is in the negative. It is neither possible nor is it the function of a criminal statute to set out all the judicial tests for a proper determination of whether a violation of the statute has been committed All that is required is that the statute give adequate notice and warning of what is prohibited in order that one may avoid such conduct. This is done by the Mississippi statute under consideration.
In Roth v. United States, supra, involving the validity of a Federal postal statute, and Alberts v. State of California, 354 U.S. 476, 77 S.Ct. 1304, 1 L.Ed. 2d 1498 (1957), a companion case governed by the same decision and involving the validity of a California obscenity statute, the Supreme Court clearly sets forth the correct legal principles as follows:
Thus in Roth and Alberts the Supreme Court held that statutes which did not define the word "obscene" were constitutional and then proceeded to define the
In the case of Great Speckled Bird of Atlanta Co-op. News Project v. Stynchcombe, 298 F.Supp. 1291, 1292 (N.D.Ga., 1969), the Court, in upholding an obscenity statute, the definition of which omitted the "patent offensiveness" and "redeeming social value" elements, states:
The Mississippi statute, unlike the statute upheld in Great Speckled Bird, supra, and in three recent cases from Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama,
In 1923, long before Roth and its progeny, the Mississippi Supreme Court, in upholding the validity of a related statute, defined obscenity in a somewhat broader manner than the present tripartite test of Memoirs, supra.
The plaintiffs further contend that the statute is void in that it contains no requirement of scienter. This attack is derived from the Supreme Court's opinion in Smith v. California, 361 U.S. 147, 80 S.Ct. 215, 4 L.Ed.2d 205 (1959) involving the application of an obscenity ordinance to books for sale in a dealer's place of business. The Court's reasoning in invalidating this Ordinance is quite significant, the Court stating:
Such reasoning simply does not apply to motion pictures. It would be impossible for a book dealer to familiarize himself with the contents of all the books he offers for sale, and proof of guilty knowledge would certainly be a condition precedent to conviction. The exhibitors of motion pictures, however, cannot seriously contend any lack of knowledge of the contents of a particular film. It is relatively easy and also the responsibility of film exhibitors to preview a motion picture before releasing it for public showing. The operation of this statute does not "tend in any manner to impose severe restrictions on the public's access to constitutionally protected matter." Smith v. California, supra. This Court is not impressed with the plaintiffs' claim of invalidity of this statute based on its failure to include a requirement of scienter.
Finally, plaintiffs contend that the terminology used in the statute, "any obscene, indecent, or immoral picture * * *" can be construed to mean any frame or scene in a motion picture, and thus, renders the statute unconstitutional. This contention is without merit. This Court has determined that the obscenity standard enunciated in Roth and its progeny is incorporated into this Mississippi statute. The requirement that "the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole" be a criteria for any prosecution under this statute is without question. There is no evidence before this Court to indicate that the Mississippi trial court has or intends to apply this statute in a manner contrary to the Roth standard in the impending criminal prosecution. There has been no decision or statutory interpretation by the Mississippi Supreme Court to indicate that the statute could or should
The majority of this Court is thus of the opinion that Section 2286, Mississippi Code Annotated, Recompiled, is not unconstitutional on its face or as applied.
The arrest of plaintiffs and the seizure of the film "Candy" allegedly were undertaken in violation of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Plaintiffs contend that there can be no seizure of allegedly obscene materials unless there has been a prior adversary hearing on the question of obscenity and that absent such procedure, the material so seized must be returned and its use as evidence suppressed in any criminal proceeding. On the other hand, defendants contend that the seizure of the film was made as an incident to lawful arrests without warrants for a crime committed in the presence of the arresting officers for the purpose of its use as evidence in subsequent criminal prosecutions, and thus complies fully with all constitutional requirements. As previously noted, no warrants were issued for the arrest of the plaintiffs and no search warrants were issued for the search and seizure of the film "Candy."
This Court is of the opinion that the seizure of an allegedly obscene film as an incident to lawful arrests for a crime committed in the presence of the arresting officers, i. e., the public showing of such film, does not exceed constitutional bounds in the absence of a prior judicial hearing on the question of its obscenity. There are, however, prior judicial pronouncements or guidelines with which compliance is an absolute prerequisite in order that this procedure be permissible and not violative of constitutional requirements.
The initial prerequisite is that the arrest itself be valid or lawful. The right of police officers to make an arrest without a warrant for a misdemeanor committed in their presence is well established under the laws of the State of Mississippi.
The obscenity standard enunciated by Roth and its progeny requires that "the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient
It is well established that the fruits or instrumentalities constituting evidence of a criminal offense or articles which may be or may furnish the means to effectuate an escape are items subject to seizure by police officers upon making a valid arrest for an offense committed in their presence. Ker v. California, 374 U.S. 23, 42-43, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726, 743 (1963); Preston v. United States, 376 U.S. 364, 84 S.Ct. 881, 11 L.Ed.2d 777 (1964). The seizure of "mere evidence" as distinguished from fruits or instrumentalities of a crime is also permissible. Warden, Md. Penitentiary v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 18 L.Ed.2d 782, 87 S.Ct. 1642 (1967); O'Neal v. United States, 411 F.2d 131 (C.A. 5, 1969).
As the film is to be used as evidence of the criminal offense committed in the presence of the arresting officers, only one copy may be seized and retained.
The film itself is unquestionably the best evidence in any criminal prosecution for the public showing of an obscene movie. More importantly, however, it is a well known fact that moving picture films may be and often are altered by adding or deleting one or more scenes for showing at a particular theater or exhibition. The absolute necessity of retaining an exact content of the film as shown at the time of the commission
This Court is of the opinion that any judicial hearing prior to the seizure of an allegedly obscene film at the time of exhibition would completely frustrate the purpose and operation of the Mississippi statute prohibiting the exhibition of obscene movies. Certainly, if a prior judicial hearing were required, it would be necessary for the hearing judge to view the film as exhibited on the occasion giving rise to the prosecution. To require a judge to proceed from one theater to another or attend numerous showings of a film at a particular theater with the mere possibility of viewing an obscene version is untenable. Furthermore, to require that the film be brought into Court or that arrangements be made for a private showing of the film in a particular theater provides no guarantees against the cutting or alteration of the film prior thereto. Finally, if police officers, after viewing an obscene film, were required to leave the theater in order to obtain a judicial determination on the question of obscenity by merely reporting the contents to the proper judicial officer, a judicial determination under such conditions would not only be extremely difficult and subject to error, but by the time a seizure could be made, the film might be altered or even shipped to another theater or location. This would be particularly true in so called "quickie movies" or "premiere performances," the same or any versions of which might never again be shown at the same location. A procedure which is not unreasonable and not oppressive should not be condemned so as to completely frustrate a state's legitimate right to prohibit the public showing of obscene movies.
The necessity of the seizure of an obscene movie at the time of showing cannot be compared to the seizure of obscene literature because books or magazines can always be purchased and brought before a court for a judicial hearing before a seizure is accomplished. Furthermore, literature does not enjoy the same possibility of easy deletion and alteration as is the case with a motion picture. Several movements of the cutter's hand can completely change the content of an exhibited obscene version of a movie and thereby eliminate any successful criminal prosecution.
This Court thus holds that the seizure as evidence of the film "Candy" by the arresting officers, having fully complied with the prerequisites herein enumerated, was not violative of any constitutional rights of the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs seek an Order permanently enjoining the defendants from further criminal prosecution, seizures of or interferences with, the public showing of the film "Candy." A federal court will normally refrain from interfering in pending state criminal prosecutions. Congress has expressly declared the policy to be followed by all United States Courts in this regard by the enactment of 28 U.S.C.A. sec. 2283, which provides: "A court of the United States may not grant an injunction to stay proceedings in a State court except as expressly authorized by Act of Congress, or where necessary in aid of its jurisdiction, or to protect or effectuate its judgments." None of these exceptions are applicable in the case before this Court. The only exceptional circumstances under which an injunction would properly lie are those depicted in Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1116, 14 L.Ed.2d 22 (1965), in which a denial of the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights was involved. As noted in Sheridan v. Garrison, 415 F.2d 699, 709 (C.A. 5, 1969), Dombrowski and its progeny require the presence of two elements before an applicant is entitled to relief, namely: "(1) a bad-faith use of the state's legal machinery with the purpose of inhibiting the exercise of the right of free speech (or, alternatively, the existence of a statute unconstitutional
Initially, this Court has determined that the Mississippi obscenity statute, unlike the statute in Dombrowski, is not unconstitutional or void on its face. The arrest and subsequent criminal prosecution of the plaintiffs was under the color of a valid statute.
The plaintiffs have also been unable to demonstrate any bad faith on the part of the defendants in enforcing this statute. Unlike Dombrowski, there is not a shred of evidence before this Court to indicate that the actions of the defendants were commenced with motives of harassment or vexation, and without any hope of ultimate success. The record in this case establishes beyond any doubt that the defendants' motive was indeed legitimate law enforcement and their actions were not designed to deliberately interfere with any First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs.
The seizure and subsequent use in criminal proceedings of one copy of the film "Candy" without a prior judicial hearing on the question of obscenity is the only action by the defendants of which the plaintiffs complain. This Court has determined that the Constitutional rights of the plaintiffs were not violated by this law enforcement procedure. This action by the defendants is certainly not evidence of any bad faith or conduct calculated to deprive the plaintiffs of any First Amendment freedoms. Nor have the plaintiffs shown any irreparable injury brought about by a "chilling effect on speech that cannot be avoided by state court adjudication." Dombrowski v. Pfister, supra. As stated
In the absence of any evidence of bad faith on the part of the defendants in enforcing the Mississippi obscenity statute or, alternately, the invalidity of the statute itself, and the complete failure of the defendants to show any irreparable injury resulting from a continuance of the criminal proceedings instituted against them in state court, the request for injunctive relief is denied.
Even though injunctive relief has been denied in this case, plaintiffs are entitled to a declaratory judgment of their rights where a statute is attacked as being unconstitutional for vagueness or overbroadness. Zwickler v. Koota, 389 U.S. 241, 88 S.Ct. 391, 19 L.Ed.2d 444 (1967). In effect, the Court has already done this but, to summarize, the Mississippi obscenity statute attacked by plaintiffs in this suit is not unconstitutional for vagueness or overbreadth. In applying the statute, it is necessary that the co-existence of the three elements enunciated in Memoirs be clearly established. The seizure of one copy of the film "Candy" which is being used as evidence in the criminal prosecution of the plaintiffs did not violate any constitutional requirements even though there was no prior adversary hearing on the question of obscenity and the suppression and return of this film is not required. This is most emphatically not a Dombrowski case entitling plaintiffs herein to any injunctive relief.
Finally, the plaintiffs have requested this Court to issue a declaratory judgment that the motion picture "Candy" is not obscene or otherwise in violation of any law. While the guilt or innocence of the plaintiff must be determined in the state courts pursuant to appropriate legal proceedings, this Court, having viewed the motion picture "Candy" in its entirety in order to ascertain all that a full-scale trial of this case on its merits would entail, is of the opinion that the film is devoid of any literary or artistic merit and presents nothing more than a vivid portrayal of hard core pornography. This film has no discerniible theme or plot and involves a disconnected series of scenes depicting sexual gratification in a shocking and shameful manner. The Court certainly concurs with the observations of defendants' witness Dean John S. Jenkins,
The defendants categorize the film as a satire or a spoof on various aspects of
This motion picture is violative of the tridentated test as enunciated in Memoirs, supra, in that the dominant theme of the material in this film taken as a whole appeals to a prurient interest in sex, the material is patently offensive because it clearly affronts contemporary community standards relating to the representation of sexual matters, and the material is utterly without redeeming social value. All three of these elements coalesce when applied to the film "Candy." It is necessary for one to view the various lurid and bizarre activities depicted in this film and hear the sound effects incidental thereto in order to fully appreciate the obscene and disgusting nature of this motion picture in its entirety. Although this Court is of the opinion that the U.S. Supreme Court's 5 to 4 per curiam affirmance in Landau v. Fording, 388 U.S. 456, 87 S.Ct. 2109, 18 L.Ed.2d 1317 (1967), does not provide a sufficient foundation for the contention that a stricter standard should apply to motion pictures than to books, we cannot ignore the visual impact of a film as compared to the printed word. As noted by the California Court in Landau v. Fording, 1967, 245 Cal.App.2d 820, 54 Cal.Rptr. 177, 181, "Because of the nature of the medium, we think a motion picture of sexual scenes may transcend the constitutional guarantee long before a frank description of the same scenes in the written word."
In conclusion, it is the opinion of this Court that the request for a permanent injunction should be and is hereby denied. Likewise the request for suppression or return of the one copy of the film, "Candy", lawfully seized and held as evidence in this case, is denied. This action obviates the need for the intervention of a jury on any Seventh Amendment claim which necessarily falls with the Complaint.
The front cover of the book "Candy", and the book itself, heretofore marked for identification purposes are admitted and marked Defendants' Exhibits Number D-4 and D-5, respectively.
As this Court has denied all requested affirmative relief except the declaratory relief herein granted, the Complaint is finally dismissed at plaintiffs' cost. A judgment accordingly shall be presented within five days after this date under the Rules of this Court.
Any judge in the majority may sign the final order in this case on behalf of the majority and a notation of dissent shall be noted thereon.
RUSSELL, District Judge, concurs.
RIVES, Circuit Judge, dissents.
RIVES, Circuit Judge (dissenting):
For the reasons stated in my dissent in the companion case, McGrew et al. v. City of Jackson, Mississippi, et al., S.D. Miss.1969, 307 F.Supp. 754 and also in Entertainment Ventures v. Brewer et al., M.D.Ala.1969, 306 F.Supp. 802, I think that relief should be granted the plaintiffs both because the seizure of the film violated their First Amendment
Any law enforcement officer may arrest any person on a misdemeanor charge without having a warrant in his possession when a warrant is in fact outstanding for that person's arrest and the officer has knowledge through official channels that the warrant is outstanding for that person's arrest. In all such cases, the officer making the arrest must inform such person at the time of the arrest the object and cause therefor. If the person arrested so requests, the warrant shall be shown to him as soon as practicable."