In a setback for First Amendment rights, the Texas Court of Criminal
Appeals has denied the Petition for Discretionary Review (PDR) of
the “display of obscenity” conviction of Texas comic shop manager Jesus Castillo. The PDR was a second appeal by legal counsel supported by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the first appeal to the August 2000 conviction was upheld in a 2-1 split decision last July.
Jesus Castillo was convicted for promoting obscenity by selling an
adult manga to an adult in a Dallas comic book store. In the original
trial, the Prosecution successfully secured Castillo’s conviction
by introducing prejudicial comments about the store’s proximity to
an elementary school and exploiting the common misperception of
comics as a children’s medium. The conviction was arrived at despite unchallenged expert testimony from the Defense and without using the “Miller Test” to determine whether the whole of the work in question was constitutionally obscene.
At this stage, the CBLDF has exhausted the remedies afforded it at
the State level and must decide whether it will back a bid to appeal
the case to the United States Supreme Court. Today the Fund’s
Board of the Directors will make their decision concerning the appeal.
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