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United States v. X-Citement Video, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
513 U.S. 64 (1994)


Gottesman owned and operated X-Citement Video (defendant), a pornography retailer. Police officers participated in a sting operation against child pornography and targeted X-Citement Video in this operation. A police officer asked Gottesman, who was working in the store at the time, for videos starring Traci Lords, who performed pornographic acts in many films before she turned eighteen years of age. Gottesman sold the films to the police officer and was charged with distribution of child pornography. At trial, it was determined that Gottesman knew of Lords’s underage performances, but did not know which particular films Lords had filmed while underage. The district court convicted Gottesman of the distribution of child pornography. Gottesman appealed, and the court of appeals reversed her conviction, stating that the statute under which Gottesman was convicted was facially unconstitutional. The court of appeals stated that the First Amendment required that an individual know specifically that the film being sold contained an underage performer, and that the statute in question was unconstitutional because it did not require an individual to know specifically that the film contain an underage performer. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

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