Ohio stinks,ask me why.

Matthew X profrv at nex.net.au
Sun Apr 25 12:28:18 PDT 1999

Cincinnati Marriott Caves in to Pressure; Eliminates Adult Pay-Per-View

 From the Cincinnati Enquirer: The Citizens for Community Values in 
Cincinnati have waged a war against the Marriott hotel chain and won. 
Warned by local prosecutors that obscenity charges could be brought against 
them, operators of the Cincinnati Marriott Northeast have decided to stop 
offering pay-for-view adult movies to guests. CCV, an anti-pornography 
group assisted in getting the movies removed from the hotel by videotaping 
the in-room movies and forwarding tapes to the prosecutor. Other Greater 
Cincinnati hotels are being targeted in similar fashion.

Phil Burress, president of theCCV, said “we're ecstatic” and that the CCV 
hopes for similar cooperation from other area prosecutors and hotel owners. 
Scott Greenwood, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union 
(ACLU) of Ohio, blasted CCV's hotel campaign as “fundamentalist, right-wing 
wackos ... trying to apply the lowest, most restrictive standards to 
something that is broadcast around the world. It's appalling. It's clearly 
a pressure tactic and it's anti-First Amendment and anti-personal 
autonomy,” Greenwood, a Cincinnati-based attorney went on to say.

In June Marriott officials at the Mason hotel were contacted by Warren 
County Prosecutor Tim Oliver and told that the hotel's satellite TV adult 
programming, which he described as “quite explicit,” violated Ohio 
obscenity law and that they face possible charges should they continue to 
offer the service to guests. The hotel's decision to at least temporarily 
withdraw the adult service also pleased Oliver, who said, “That's what we 
wanted them to do.”

In a July 24 letter to Oliver's office, Mason Marriott lawyer William 
O'Brien wrote that while the 302-room hotel is “committed to traditional 
family values,” it is also a business that caters to all members of the 
public, many of whom have widely varying tastes and opinions. O'Brien 
stated that though the hotel has removed the adult movie option for guests, 
it has “reserved the right to change its position.” He added, however, that 
any resumption of the adult entertainment would be accompanied by a 
notification to the prosecutor's office.

An estimated 40 percent of the nation's hotels offer adult movie options, 
accounting for about 90 percent of pay-per-view revenue, according to 
Burress. Burress said his group is stepping up its efforts to wipe out what 
he described as the hotel industry's “white-collar pornography” because 
“they have started to bring in the hard stuff,” he said, referring to 
explicitly graphic adult movies. He said he is concerned that guests 
automatically have the option of accessing such adult fare rather than 
having to request the programming from the hotel and that children in the 
rooms “are only two or three clicks on a remote control from getting into 
it” — although hotels usually offer guests the ability to have the adult 
fare blocked.

Ohio anti-First Amendment porn law put on hold

[AP] A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of Ohio's new 
anti-pornography law, saying it's too broad and appears to violate the 
constitutional right of free speech.

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice on Friday issued a temporary 
restraining order at the request of attorneys for bookstores, newspapers 
and video software dealers. The law adds computer images to the list of 
possible ways to display sexually explicit material and other content 
deemed "harmful to juveniles." Lawmakers passed the bill in February, and 
Gov. Bob Taft signed it in May.

In his decision, Rice said the law's definition of what is harmful to 
juveniles is too broad and outlaws conduct and expression protected by the 
First Amendment.

As written, the law could affect publishers, booksellers and others who 
disseminate material to juveniles, Rice said. The temporary restraining 
order keeps the law from going into effect today. Rice said he will grant a 
preliminary injunction later, which is indefinite and could result in a trial.

Prosecutors origianlly welcomed the new law, saying it would allow 
authorities to put sexual predators behind bars longer.

"We could use this statute as something else in our arsenal," Craig King, 
assistant Greene County prosecutor, said earlier. "It would give us another 
charge to throw in."

When predators send pornography or nude photos of themselves over the 
Internet, they can only be charged with attempted dissemination of matter 
harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanor, since the detectives aren't really 
minors, King said.

Under the new law, the predators could be charged with a felony and face up 
to a year more jail time, he said.

But bookstores, publishers and video software dealers who sued the state 
argued that the law would violate their First Amendment rights and would 
restrict Internet communications.

In a hearing before Rice on July 31, Elise Porter, an assistant Ohio 
attorney general, said the law attempts to modernize the way Ohio fights 
pornography and gives authorities more tools to go after sexual predators 
who use the Internet to prey on juveniles.

Michael Bamberger, the attorney for opponents of the law, said the statute 
is too broad, and its definition of what is harmful to juveniles is 
difficult to understand. He said the law would have a chilling effect on 
the dissemination of constitutionally protected speech and expression.

Courts in six other states struck down attempts at similar restrictions, he 
said. State Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus, sponsored the law after a case he 
handled while an assistant Franklin County prosecutor.

In the case, Mark Maxwell, of Oxford, was sentenced to 18 years in prison 
in 1999 on charges that he enticed minors into sex through Internet chat 
rooms and e-mail. Some of the charges were dismissed because jurors said 
the law on disseminating pornography did not include electronic images, 
Hughes has said.

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