Closing Arguments Completed, Isaacs Case Goes To The Jury

LOS ANGELES—The third obscenity trial of producer/retailer Ira Isaacs has reached its final stage, with Judge George H. King submitting the case to the jury just before 11 a.m., instructing them to select a foreman and begin deliberations on the five-count indictment which charges Isaacs with producing, selling and shipping four allegedly obscene videos, Mako's First Time Scat, Hollywood Scat Amateurs 7 and 10, and Japanese Doggie 3 Way.

Court reconvened for the trial's fifth day shortly after 8 a.m., and began with Judge King warning defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond not to "argue outside the evidence," especially regarding the issue of whether only "consenting adults" were the intended audience for the videos. Judge King threatened that if Diamond argued the "consenting adults" issue, he would issue an additional jury instruction that it was irrelevant to the proceeding that only such adults were the movies' target demographic.

Diamond responded that he wanted to make sure that the jury didn't convict his client out of fear that children might see the movies, but after complimenting Diamond on his "fertile imagination," the judge said that his preclusion of the argument still stood. He also refused to let Diamond argue that the movies were intended to be viewed in the privacy of their purchasers' homes at the viewers' own pace—in other words, viewing selected portions of the videos at one time and leaving the rest for another—rather than being watched in their entirety at one sitting in a well-lit courtroom surrounded by other jurors.

With that preamble, the jury was allowed back into the courtroom, and the judge instructed them on the law of the case, which he reminded them (incorrectly) that they were duty-bound to follow. He stated, among other things, that the jury was to apply the law to the facts of the case as they had determined them to be, without regard to their personal opinions on the issues; that neither the indictment itself, nor the questions, statements, objections or arguments of the attorneys were evidence in the case; that they could consider both direct and circumstantial evidence, and that they were to use their own reason, experience and common sense in deciding whether Isaacs had violated various sections of the federal criminal code—18 U.S. Code §§1461 thru 1466A—regarding producing, selling and shipping "obscene matter."

He specifically instructed that in order to convict on any charge, the jury had to find that the government had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Isaacs produced the two movies he directed (Hollywood Scat Amateurs) for sale; that he knew they were of a sexual nature; and that he or his employees mailed or shipped them by commercial carrier; and that regarding the two remaining movies, that he knew they were of a sexual nature, and that they had been shipped as previously described. He stressed that it didn't matter whether Isaacs made the movies for profit, nor whether he knew they were obscene when he made or sold them, and that the movies themselves were the best evidence of whether their contents are constitutionally protected or not.

Judge King then described the three "prongs" of the Miller test: That in order for the movies, or any of them, to be found obscene, they had to, taken as a whole and applying contemporary community standards, appeal to a prurient interest—that is, a morbid, degrading or unhealthy interest in sex or excretion—of the sexual interests of the average person in the community, or a typical member of a designated deviant group to whom they were targeted; adn they had to be without serious literary,