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Taking Serious Value Seriously - Obscenity, Pope v. Illinois, an Objective Standard

NCJ Number
University of Miami Law Review Volume: 41 Issue: 4 Dated: (March 1987) Pages: 855-877
S Elkin
Date Published
23 pages
The case of Pope v. Illinois raises the issue of the workability of a national standard for determining the third prong of the tripartite Miller test for obscenity in first amendment cases.
The test requires the trier of fact to determine whether allegedly obscene material lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific merit, but it does not require the trier to use an objective standard in determining the social value of the material. It is suggested that through expert testimony and literary commentary the court can be provided with an objective or national standard that offers greater protection at the trial level than does a community standard. Such a standard also would enable the appellate court to exercise de novo review. The U.S. Supreme Court has hitherto only alluded to such a scheme; it now needs to articulate it in its decision in Pope v. Illinois. 181 notes.


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