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CBLDF appeals Castillo decision to the U.S. Supreme Court

Press Release

The Board of Directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has voted

unanimously to appeal the case of Texas v. Castillo to the United

States Supreme Court. This decision follows last week's notice

from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that Castillo's Petition

for Discretionary Review was refused.

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 a 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.

Attorneys funded by the CBLDF appealed the case on those

constitutional grounds and were met with a split decision upholding

Castillo's conviction. Last August, the Fund's lawyers

submitted the Petition for Discretionary Review which pleaded for the

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider the case. That plea

was denied last week.

Castillo now faces criminal charges for doing his job. His penalty

includes a six month suspended sentence, a $4,000 fine, and a year of

probation. The Fund will continue to fight this injustice in the

appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The expense of doing so will not

be less than $10,000, escalating this case's projected costs to

more than $50,000.

"It's shameful that Jesus is facing these charges for

responsibly selling adult material to an adult," says Charles

Brownstein, the Fund's Executive Director. "While it's

anyone's guess whether the high court will hear the case, it is

our responsibility to this industry to take this fight as far as we

can. While there is a chance of justice being served, we cannot back

down. Especially in this case where a man's liberty is being

trampled by forces who fail to recognize the comic book medium's

ability to speak to adult audiences and the rights of retailers to

responsibly distribute such speech to its appropriate audience."

Brownstein continues, "The Fund has already had its most

expensive legal year in recent memory, and the costs of supporting

those legal battles just skyrocketed again. Fighting those battles

is the right thing to do, but to do it, we need the support of the

comics community more than ever. If you believe in the rights of

retailers and cartoonists to sell the full breadth of content this

medium offers, then we need your help. If you're not already a

member, now is the time to join. If you can spare any donation,

large or small, it will make it possible for us to push forward. Now

is the time to get involved with the Fund. Now is the time for us to

stand together as a community and fight this injustice."

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