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."