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Jenkins v. Georgia

Citation. 418 U.S. 153, 94 S.Ct. 2750, 41 L.Ed.2d 642 (1974).

Brief Fact Summary.

Defendant appealed his conviction under Georgia’s obscenity law for showing a film in a movie theater.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Nudity alone is not enough to make material legally obscene under the Miller standards.


Defendant is a regulated privately owned and operated utility company subject to extensive state regulation. Plaintiff claimed under state law that she was entitled to reasonably continuous electric service and that the termination of service due to bill nonpayment was state action depriving her of property without due process required under the 14th Amendment.


Whether the film “Carnal Knowledge” features the type of hardcore sexual content prohibited under Miller.


No. The film “Carnal Knowledge” does not feature the type of hardcore sexual content prohibited under Miller.


Justice Douglas

Any ban on obscenity is prohibited by the First Amendment. I concur in the reversal of this conviction.


The film does not depict sexual conduct in a patently offensive, hardcore way and therefore does not fall outside the protections of the First and 14th Amendments. While the subject matter of the picture is, in a broader sense, sex, and there are scenes in which sexual conduct is understood to be taking place, the camera does not focus on the actors’ bodies. There is no exhibition of genitals, lewd or otherwise. Judgement reversed.

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