Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Miller’s (Defendant) conviction for mailing advertisements for “adult” books to unwilling recipients was vacated and remanded in an effort to shift the burden of obscenity determinations to the state and local courts.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In determining whether speech is obscene, the basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find the material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of sex, (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 literacy, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Facts. The Defendant was convicted under the California Penal Code for mailing advertisements for “adult” material to non-soliciting recipients.
Issue. Whether state statutes may regulate obscene material without limits?