A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of the fetish filmmaker Ira Isaacs who was sentenced to four years in prison for producing obscene material and mailing it across state lines.
A Los Angeles jury convicted Ira Isaacs in April 2012 of
five counts connected to the production, sales and shipping of the films Mako's First Time Scat , two volumes of Hollywood Scat Amateurs and Japanese Doggie 3 Way . Two earlier trials were declared mistrials.
three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena rejected Isaacs' arguments that the lower court made errors in regard to jury instructions and abused its discretion by excluding the defendant's proposed expert testimony.
Defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he would discuss with Isaacs whether to file a petition for rehearing before the full 11-judge appeals panel. Diamond said:
This case is a relic from the George W. Bush days. It's been a big waste of money and resources.
The case against Isaacs was originally brought in 2007 by Department of Justice prosecutors with the
now-defunct Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. Isaacs was charged under an updated indictment in 2011. Isaacs has spent no time behind bars since the convictions.
Fetish porn producer and distributor, Ira Isaacs, has been sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and fined $11,000 at federal court in Los Angeles. After serving his sentence, Isaacs will be subject to three years of supervised release.
attorney Roger Jon Diamond indicated that his client will appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Isaacs was found guilty in April 2012 on five counts of violating federal obscenity laws over the distribution of Mako's First
Time Scat, Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7, Hollywood Scat Amateurs #10 and Japanese Doggie 3 Way.
It was the third obscenity trial for the distributor and producer, who all along contended that the works he had been charged with have
artistic value and can't be deemed obscene. The first two ended with mistrials.
The attorney representing Ira Isaacs has filed an appeal on behalf of the fetish filmmaker and distributor with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Attorney Roger Jon Diamond filed court papers with the 9th Circuit claiming that Isaacs is entitled to an appeal to have his convictions and sentencing tossed because the jury in his case was improperly instructed, his own testimony was
restricted and thus a violation of due process, and because he faced double jeopardy after two earlier trials on the same offenses ended with mistrials.
A Los Angeles jury has just found Ira Isaacs guilty on all five counts in his obscenity trial.
The jury began deliberating the charges of producing, selling and shipping the four charged movies:
Mako's First Time Scat,
Hollywood Scat Amateurs 7 and 10,
Japanese Doggie 3 Way
Isaacs looked pensive as the jury filed into the courtroom, and was visibly shaken as the jury foreman read the guilty verdicts on the five counts, each of which could net him five years in (likely) a minimum security federal prison.
Isaacs' attorney Roger Jon Diamond told AVN that he felt his client had several grounds for appeal, but a final decision as to whether Isaacs will appeal the verdicts has not yet been reached.
Offsite Comment: If Porn Isn't Art, Does It Still Have a Right to Exist?
Ira Isaacs basic defence was that hi work was art.
Obviously Hollywood Scat Amateurs #10 was never intended to be art, and that's the real problem with the art argument: it covers up what's truly valuable about these films, which is that they allow us to critique of the notion of obscenity itself.
The California obscenity statute defines prurience as a morbid, degrading, unhealthy interest in sex. But this sells all sexual minorities down the river. Is it more degrading to see a representation of your desire, or
be deemed perverted by the state? In 2012, should the state still be passing judgment on the consensual sex lives of others?
In the end, the jury pronounced Isaacs guilty on all counts and got home before rush hour. That's
not surprising, given that they'd been instructed not to consider what a deviant subset might find normal, or even what they themselves might find normal, but instead to imagine the values of the community at large. Even in Central District of
California---the home not only of the nation's porn industry, but also of bedroom communities from San Luis Obispo to Orange County---that leaves a lot of room for sexual missteps.
t was almost five years ago, on July 24, 2007, that the original government indictment against Ira Isaacs was filed in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. After two failed attempts to nail him for obscenity in the intervening years, the Justice
Department is going for a third swing at the Ira Isaacs ball. On Monday, the parties will gather at 8:30 a.m. in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for jury selection.
The last attempt failed when the jury didn't agree on a verdict.
A federal appeals court judge has stepped down from a high-profile obscenity trial in Los Angeles, three days after acknowledging that he had posted sexually explicit material on a publicly accessible personal website.
In light of the public
controversy surrounding my involvement in this case, I have concluded that there is a manifest necessity to declare a mistrial, wrote Alex Kozinski, chief judge for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: I will recuse myself from further
participation in the case and will ask the chief judge of the district court to reassign it to another judge.
On Wednesday, Kozinski suspended the trial of Hollywood filmmaker Ira Isaacs to allow the prosecutor to explore what he saw as a
potential conflict of interest concerning the court having a . . . sexually explicit website with similar material to what is on trial here.
The Ira Isaacs obscenity case
could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
It's not certain whether justices will take his appeal, but Isaacs' attorney has asked a lower court on Tuesday not to send any pretrial proceedings relative to his retrial until the highest court in the
Obscenity Prosecution Task Force attorneys don't oppose the request, Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond told XBIZ: You never know if the justices will take the case, but I'm upbeat, Diamond said.
obscenity case was put on hold last year after Judge Alex Kozinski recused himself after it was revealed that he used a website to distribute sexually explicit photos and videos.
Diamond contends that Isaacs shouldn't be retried because there was
no manifest necessity for the declaration of the mistrial, which was declared without Isaacs' consent, and that it would amount to double jeopardy, a procedural defense hat forbids a defendant from being tried twice for the same crime on the same set of
Isaacs has until May 3 to file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to request review.
An upcoming trial will screen hours of hard-core fetish pornography as Ira Isaacs faces a trial on obscenity charges.
If all goes according to plan, an otherwise stately federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles will be converted into a makeshift
movie theater this week, screening a series of graphic sexual fetish videos.
At issue is how a jury will define obscenity in a region that boasts its status as the capital of the pornography industry and at a time when technology has made the
taboo adult flicks of a generation ago available to a mainstream audience.
Hollywood filmmaker Ira Isaacs says the videos he sells are works of art, protected under the Constitution. Federal prosecutors contend the movies are criminally obscene.
The prosecution is the first in Southern California by a U.S. Department of Justice task force formed in 2005 after influential Christian conservative groups appealed to the Bush administration to crack down on smut.
For jurors to
determine whether Isaacs' work is obscene, they will have to view hours of hard-core pornography so degrading that in one film, an actress cries throughout, prosecutors said in court papers.
But if jurors find that any of the four videos at issue
in the case have any literary, scientific or artistic value, the work is not legally obscene, according to a 1973 Supreme Court ruling.
In a statistic that some may find every bit as shocking as his work, Isaacs said he was selling about
1,000 videos per month at $30 apiece before being raided by the FBI early last year. Isaacs predicted that many jurors would not be able to stomach viewing the movies, some of which feature acts of bestiality and defecation.
alleges that Isaacs shipped obscene videos outside the state of California.
Presiding over the trial will be Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kozinski was assigned the case as part of a rotation in which he and
other appeals court judges occasionally oversee criminal trials in addition to deciding appeals.
His involvement in the case may be a stroke of luck for Isaacs. That's because Kozinski is seen as a staunch defender of free speech. When he learned
that there were filters banning pornography and other materials from computers in the appeals court's Pasadena offices, he led a successful effort to have the filters removed.
The obscenity trial of “shock artist” Ira Isaacs has now been suspended as
questions arose today following a Los Angeles Times report in which the trial judge said he kept sexually explicit pictures and videos on his personal website.
Judge Alex Kozinski granted the joint motion to suspend the trial after the
prosecution claimed it needed time to investigate the matter. The jury is expected to return on Monday.
Earlier today, the LA Times published a report in which Kozinski reveals that he maintained explicit photos and videos on a subdomain of his
publicly accessible website, Alex.Kozinski.com.
The Times reports that Kozinski’s explicit material was extensive. There were images of masturbation, public sex and contortionist sex. There was a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual and
a folder that contained a series of photos of women's crotches as seen through snug-fitting clothing or underwear. There also were themes of defecation and urination, though they are not presented in a sexual context.
Kozinski claims that the
images were not accessible to the general public, and though some were “inappropriate,” he kept them to share with friends.