California ex rel. Cooper v. Mitchell Bros. Theater
Annotate this Case
454 U.S. 90 (1981)
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U.S. Supreme Court
California ex rel. Cooper v. Mitchell Bros. Theater, 454 U.S. 90 (1981)
California ex rel. Cooper v. Mitchell Brothers Santa Ana Theater
Decided November 30, 1981
454 U.S. 90
Held: A city, in a public nuisance abatement action against a motion picture theater, is not required, as a matter of constitutional law, to establish the obscenity of the motion pictures at issue by proof "beyond a reasonable doubt." While a State may require such proof in such a case, that choice is solely a matter of state law, and is not required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Although this Court has held that the "clear and convincing" standard or one of its variants is the appropriate standard of proof in certain types of civil cases, it has never required application of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in a civil case, as opposed to a criminal prosecution.
Certiorari granted; 114 Cal.pp. 3d 923, 171 Cal.Rptr. 85, reversed and remanded.