U.S. v. Stevens — The Decision is In

David Cassuto

And the result is as expected.  The law goes the way off all things.  I shall have more to say on this shortly.

3 Responses

  1. In the modern era where controversial issues often lead to highly fractured 5-4 splits, the Supreme Court’s 8-1 decision says something important about the First Amendment. Justice Alito’s dissent makes little sense to me.

    Those who feel or videograph scenes in which animals are treated cruelly or brutally should be and can be prosecuted if they are principals or accessories to a criminal act. But the mere recording may well serve important purposes that should not be chilled by the threat of prosecution.

    I look forward to hearing other views.

  2. The one thing I do not necessarily understand- and perhaps someone could clear it up for me is how animal cruelty videos are fundamentally different than child pornography. The act of selling child pornography is considered illegal, first amendment be damned, I think (please correct me if I’m wrong) because the because tthe photography or video in question is considered to be necessarily linked to the abuse.

    My question is :why is that not the case for animal abuse? It seems illogical to me to say that you can have something, say a crush video, which isn’t necessarily linked to the animal abuse. Or say, a Stevens video which while allegedly educational showed pitbulls tearing apart a pig. How is that not linked to the animal abuse?

    I’m certainly not trying to be argumentative, its just a funadmental aspect of the case I didn’t understand.


  3. The invalidated statute was overbroad in that it criminalized what might in many circumstances be investigative journalism. The intent of the videographer would not be criminal.

    Child pornography, by comparison, is deemed so evil that even the First Amendment does not protect a videographer because the mere possession is a crime.

    I recognize the argument for parity with regard to animal cruelty. But content criminalization virtually always violates the First Amendment, child pornography being one critical exception. The Court was not prepared to limit the amendment’s protection to a new category

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