WATKINS v. SOUTH CAROLINAAnnotate this Case
418 U.S. 911 (1974)
U.S. Supreme Court
WATKINS v. SOUTH CAROLINA , 418 U.S. 911 (1974)
418 U.S. 911
State of SOUTH CAROLINA.
Supreme Court of the United States
July 25, 1974
The appeal is dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.
Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, being of the view that any state should be afforded a new trial under local community ban on obscenity is prohibited by the First
Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth (see Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton, 413 U.S. 49, 70-73 (1973) (Douglas, J., dissenting)), would note jurisdiction and reverse the judgment of conviction.
Mr. Justice BRENNAN, with whom Mr. Justice STEWART and Mr. Justice MARSHALL join, dissenting.
Appellant was convicted after a jury trial in the Fourth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina (Darlington County) on charges of feloniously exhibiting an obscene motion picture film in violation of the Code of Laws of South Carolina 16-414.2 which provides:
- 'It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to send or cause to be sent, or to bring or cause to be brought into South Carolina for sale or distribution, or to prepare, publish, print, exhibit, distribute, or to offer to distribute in the State, or to have in his possession with intent to distribute, or to exhibit or to offer to distribute, any obscene matter.'
As used in that section,
- '(a) 'Obscene' means that to the average person, applying contemporary standards, the predominant appeal of the matter, taken as a whole, is to prurient interest among which is a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex or excretion, and which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in description or representation of such matters. If it appears from the character of the material or the circumstances of its dissemination that the subject matter is to be distributed to minors under sixteen years of age, predominant appeal shall be judged with reference to such class of minors.
- '(b) 'Matter' means any book, magazine, newspaper or other printed or written material or any pic- [418 U.S. 911 , 913]