Saturday, June 13, 2009

Update on Handley Case

For those of you following this case, this may be old news. However, it is disappointing news for First Amendment rights. According to a Department of Justice memo, Christopher Handley
pleaded guilty to one count of possessing obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1466A(b)(1), which prohibits the possession of any type of visual depiction, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct that is obscene.

Handley also agreed to plead guilty to one count of mailing obscene material and to forfeit all seized property. Handley faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a three-year term of supervised release

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund had given money on expert testimony for the trial before this plea bargain had been arranged. They released a statement regarding their own disappointment. You can also see a variety of responses from the Anime News Network page which includes statements from professionals and academics dealing with anime and manga. Though his lawyer stated that he was a "prolific" collector and the so-called pornographic comics were a small portion of his collection, it would seem to make little difference between owning one or one hundred. In other words, if he had a large collection of this manga, would that have made a difference? What if it was a woman collecting yaoi?

Though now has a link on their Comics and Graphic Novels page to yaoi and such doujinshi and manga are prevalent on eBay, I still expect a backlash at some point.