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Stanley v. Georgia

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Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Stanley’s (Petitioner) home was being searched for evidence of bookmaking when officers found obscene films.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Mere possession of obscenity is not punishable under the United States Constitution (Constitution).

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

As to what is to be taken, nothing is left to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant.

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Facts. The Petitioner was being investigated for bookmaking. Officers were searching his home when they found 8mm films that they determined to be obscene. They confiscated the materials and charged the Petitioner with knowingly having possession of obscene matter.

Issue. Does this law prohibiting possession of obscenity violate the First Amendment of the Constitution?

Held. Yes. The Constitution prohibits making mere possession a crime.

Discussion. The government is not allowed to dictate to people what they will and will not read, watch or enjoy. The Constitution strictly protects an individual from such unwarranted intrusion and control.

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