The re-written crush film law was challenged as unconstitutional and after review last year, the Federal Appeals Court reversed the case, finding the law constitutional.
“Richards and Justice filed a motion to dismiss the federal indictment on the ground that § 48 is facially invalid under the First Amendment. The district court dismissed counts one through five, concluding that § 48 is facially invalid because it proscribes speech that is not within an unprotected category—specifically the speech is neither obscene nor incidental to criminal conduct—and is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.
The government timely appealed, arguing that on its face § 48 proscribes only unprotected speech and is not overbroad. For the reasons that follow, we REVERSE and REMAND.”
Feds bring first case under new ‘animal crush’ video law
A Houston man and woman were indicted Wednesday for producing “animal crush” videos, the first federal case brought under the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which was passed after the Supreme Court ruled that a previous version of the law violated the First Amendment.
The U.S. attorney in southern Texas charged Ashley Nicole Richards, 22, and Brent Justice, 51, who are already facing state animal cruelty charges, with producing eight videos that allegedly involve the torture and killing of puppies, chickens and kittens, according a release from the federal prosecutor’s office. Richards and Justice face five counts of animal crush charges and two obscenity charges.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office of Southern Texas confirmed the Houston case is the first in the nation brought under the revised law.In April 2010, the Supreme Court decided 8-1 in U.S. v. Stevens to strike down Section 48 of Title 18 of U.S. Code as unconstitutional.
The code, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion of the court, penalized “anyone who knowingly ‘creates, sells, or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty,’ if done ‘for commercial gain’ in interstate or foreign commerce.”
Section 48 of title 18 of the U.S. Code was quickly re-written, probably by HSUS (since HSUS sponsored the original statute and no one cared if it was illegal. After suffering the loss at the United States Supreme Court, HSUS ignored it and then bragged it was re-written. Duh– they knew it was illegal when they wrote it.)Apparently the defendants appealed, claiming the statute was unconstitutional.
Then the appeals court (see PDF link above) decided that it was not unconstitutional. So we presume unless the law is challenged down the line, it is probably here to stay for awhile.It should be noted that the U.S. v Stevens case [559 U.S. 460, 2010] is nothing like the case that was reversed at all.
At issue in Stevens was, among other things, the challenge to the original law written by HSUS which outlawed any form in video which might have a depiction of animal cruelty even if it was not real at all. Such law was not constitutional, as made obvious by the Supreme Court slamming the law VERY hard, and they did not mince words.
Had the law not been found illegal, every depiction of any “cruelty” to animals would be illegal, regardless if it was animal slaughter, fishing, hunting, or even lawful actions, since HSUS actually got the law passed as it applied to crush films, YET HSUS got some government attorney to use it on a non crush film (as Mr. Stevens was charged illegally, since the law was not constitutional.) In addition, an historical accounting of dog fighting or slavery does not turn a video into an illegal film just because HSUS wanted to stamp out crush videos.