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California v. Freeman

488 U.S. 1311, 109 S. Ct. 854 (1989)

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California v. Freeman

United States Supreme Court

488 U.S. 1311, 109 S. Ct. 854 (1989)

Facts

Freeman (defendant) was a director and producer of pornography films. The State of California (plaintiff) charged Freeman with pandering for hiring adult actors to perform in his films. Freeman was not charged with violating any of California’s obscenity laws. Freeman was convicted following a jury trial, and the appellate court affirmed the conviction. Freeman appealed to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court reversed Freeman’s conviction, holding that (1) Freeman could only be charged with pandering if he hired the pornography actors for the purpose of prostitution; (2) because Freeman hired the actors as performers and not for Freeman’s own sexual gratification, Freeman’s conduct did not fall within the statutory definition of either prostitution or pandering; and (3) applying the pandering statute to hiring adult actors for a non-obscene pornography film violated Freeman’s First Amendment rights. California filed a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme Court regarding the California Supreme Court’s First Amendment ruling and, simultaneously, filed a petition with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, acting as Circuit Justice in the Ninth Circuit, for a stay of enforcement of the California Supreme Court’s ruling pending the United States Supreme Court’s decision on California’s petition for certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

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