Tampa Tribune Columnist Questions Jurors' Ethics in Max Hardcore Trial

TAMPA -  Columnist Daniel Ruth examined the outcome of the Max Hardcore obscenity trial today in his blog for the Tampa Tribune, criticizing the jury's verdict in light of reports that jurors plan to write a book about the case. 

"While the jury was supposed to be objectively pondering whether a man will spend many years in prison, they were entering into a potential business relationship the success of which could be determined by the outcome of the trial," Ruth wrote. "Just where is the real obscenity here? Naughty movies? Or entrepreneurial jurors?"

Defense attorney Jennifer Kinsley told Ruth that the reported book deal is cause for concern - and that it will most likely be one of several points on which Hardcore will appeal the conviction.

"The conviction would have enhanced the value of the book deal," she said.

Even if Max Hardcore is a "sleazy guy," Ruth pointed out, he is still entitled to a fair trial.

"[Hardcore] found himself in the dock accused of being a smut merchant, a man with no sense of dignity, or propriety, a man indifferent to community standards and most of all a cheesy, declasse opportunist more interested in profits than common decency," Ruth wrote. "You might say he, indeed, was judged by a jury of his peers."

A reader's response to the blog raises another important point.

"Not being into porn or having viewed his films, I cannot attest to [Hardcore's] sleaziness," the post reads. "The fact is, if there were no demand for his product, he wouldn't be in his business. It's just easier to target him than his audience."