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Pandering Obscenity

Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(F) establishes that any material or performance is considered "obscene" when any of the following apply: Its dominant appeal is to prurient interest; its dominant tendency is to arouse lust by displaying or depicting sexual activity, masturbation, sexual excitement, or nudity in a way that tends to represent human beings as mere objects of sexual appetite; its dominant tendency is to arouse lust by displaying or depicting bestiality or extreme or bizarre violence, cruelty, or brutality; its dominant tendency is to appeal to scatological interest by displaying or depicting human bodily functions of elimination in a way that inspires disgust or revulsion in persons with ordinary sensibilities, without serving any genuine scientific, educational, sociological, moral, or artistic purpose; or it contains a series of displays or descriptions of sexual activity, masturbation, sexual excitement, nudity, bestiality, extreme or bizarre violence, cruelty, or brutality, or human bodily functions of elimination, the cumulative effect of which is a dominant tendency to appeal to prurient or scatological interest, when the appeal to such an interest is primarily for its own sake or for commercial exploitation, rather than primarily for a genuine scientific, educational, sociological, moral, or artistic purpose.

Alleged pandering obscenity offenses are often the result of the sales or creation of erotic or pornographic material. Pandering obscenity is a felony offense in Ohio, and people convicted of this crime can be required to register as sex offenders.

Lawyer for Pandering Obscenity Arrests in Dayton, OH

Were you recently arrested anywhere in the Miami Valley area for allegedly pandering obscenity? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Joslyn Law Firm as soon as possible.

Brian Joslyn is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dayton who represents clients accused of sexual offenses in Springfield, Beavercreek, Huber Heights, Dayton, Kettering, Troy, Piqua, Fairborn, and many surrounding areas of Montgomery County. You can have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (937) 356-3969 to schedule a free initial consultation.


Overview of Pandering Obscenity Offenses in Ohio


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Pandering Obscenity Charges in Montgomery County

Ohio Revised Code § 2903.07.32 establishes that a person commits the crime of pandering obscenity if he or she, with knowledge of the character of the material or performance involved, does any of the following:

  • Creates, reproduces, or publishes any obscene material, when the alleged offender knows that the material is to be used for commercial exploitation or will be publicly disseminated or displayed, or when the alleged offender is reckless in that regard;
  • Promotes or advertises for sale, delivery, or dissemination; sells, delivers, publicly disseminates, publicly displays, exhibits, presents, rents, or provides; or offers or agrees to sell, deliver, publicly disseminate, publicly display, exhibit, present, rent, or provide, any obscene material;
  • Creates, directs, or produces an obscene performance, when the alleged offender knows that it is to be used for commercial exploitation or will be publicly presented, or when the alleged offender is reckless in that regard;
  • Advertises or promotes an obscene performance for presentation, or presents or participates in presenting an obscene performance, when the performance is presented publicly, or when admission is charged; or
  • Buys, procures, possesses, or controls any obscene material with purpose to violate division Ohio Revised Code § 2903.07.32(A)(2) or Ohio Revised Code § 2903.07.32(4).

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Dayton Pandering Obscenity Penalties

Pandering obscenity is generally a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of this offense or disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, any subsequent pandering obscenity charge is a fourth-degree felony punishable by if up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Ohio Revised Code § 2903.07.32(B) states that it is an affirmative defense to a pandering obscenity charge that the material or performance involved in the alleged offense was disseminated or presented for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, religious, governmental, judicial, or other proper purpose, by or to a physician, psychologist, sociologist, scientist, teacher, person pursuing bona fide studies or research, librarian, clergyman, prosecutor, judge, or other person having a proper interest in the material or performance. When obscene material involves a minor, the alleged offender may face pandering obscenity involving a minor or other more serious child pornography charges.


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Ohio Resources for Pandering Obscenity Crimes

Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) — “The Miller Test” (also known as the “three prong obscenity test”) derived its name from this landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court. Marvin Miller was the owner and operator of a California mail-order business convicted of violating a state law prohibiting the distribution of obscene material after conducting a mass mailing campaign to advertise the sale of "adult" material. The Supreme Court held that obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment and a “work may be subject to state regulation where that work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest in sex; portrays, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” The Court established the following three criteria for the test of what constitutes obscenity: “(a) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Roth, supra, at 354 U. S. 489, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

State v. Dalton, 153 Ohio App.3d 286, 2003-Ohio-3813 — Brian Dalton pleaded guilty to five counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor in violation and five counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor and was sentenced to nine months in prison on each count, but he was granted judicial release and placed on probation for three years after serving four months of his prison term. He was later arrested for lack of participation in a sex-offender-treatment program, and Dalton’s mother contacted his probation officer to express concern about some items she had found in Dalton’s apartment. One of the items Dalton’s mother collected for the probation officer was a personal journal that depicted Dalton’s personal fantasies of the violent torture and rape of a number of fictitious minor children. Dalton was charged with two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor—based solely on the content of his personal journal—and entered a guilty plea to one count in exchange for the dismissal of the other count, but the Tenth District Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying Dalton’s motion to vacate his guilty plea and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Dayton Pandering Obscenity Defense Attorney

If you were arrested for allegedly pandering obscenity anywhere in Montgomery County, it will be in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Joslyn Law Firm defends individuals throughout Miami County, Montgomery County, Clark County, and Greene County.

Dayton criminal defense lawyer Brian Joslyn will fight to possibly have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (937) 356-3969 or fill out an online contact form today to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


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