Rabe v. Washington
405 U.S. 313 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rabe v. Washington, 405 U.S. 313 (1972)

Rabe v. Washington

No. 71-247

Argued February 29, 1972

Decided March 20, 1972

405 U.S. 313

Syllabus

Petitioner was convicted of violating Washington's obscenity statute for showing a sexually frank motion picture at a drive-in theater. In affirming his conviction, the Washington Supreme Court did not hold that the film was obscene under the standards of Roth v. United States,354 U. S. 476, and Memoirs v. Massachusetts,383 U. S. 413, but that it was obscene in "the context of its exhibition" at a drive-in. The statute proscribing the knowing display of "obscene" films did not mention the location of the exhibition as an element of the offense.

Held: A State may not criminally punish the exhibition of a motion picture film at a drive-in theater where the statute assertedly violated has not given fair notice that the location of the exhibition was a vital element of the offense.

79 Wash.2d 254, 484 P.2d 917, reversed.

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