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Obscenity and the Law: Is it Possible for a Jury to Apply Contemporary Community Standards in Determining Obscenity?

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: (April 1990) Pages: 139-150
J E Scott; D J Eitle; S E Skovron
Date Published
12 pages
This paper examines whether a random sample of adults can apply local contemporary community standards regarding the acceptability of explicit sexual materials.
Inasmuch as the legal test employed in the U.S. for determining obscenity requires a jury to apply such standards, the research examines the practicality of such an approach. The analysis indicates that the best predictor of what an individual will perceive the community standards to be is the individual's own standards concerning sexual materials. The implications of these findings are examined both from a legal and social science perspective. In addition, the consequences of not providing jurors information concerning local standards are discussed. 9 notes, 2 tables, 42 references. (Author abstract)