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No one will be subject to prosecution for the sale or exposure of obscene materials unless these materials depict or describe patently offensive hard core sexual conduct.
Upon jury trial in the Superior Court of Dougherty County, Georgia, Jenkins, a theater manager was convicted of violating a Georgia obscenity statute for showing the motion picture "Carnal Knowledge"--the trial having occurred prior to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miller v California, 413 US 15, 37 L Ed 2d 419, 93 S Ct 2607, and companion cases, which reformulated the constitutional test for determining obscenity, and the trial court having given instructions directing the jury, which viewed the film, to apply "community standards" in determining obscenity, without specifying what "community." The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the conviction, noting that the definition of obscenity under the Georgia statute was more restrictive than the new test set forth in the Miller decisions.
Was the film shown by Jenkins obscene under the constitutional standards announced in the prior case?
The Court concluded that Jenkins was entitled to receive any benefit available from the Supreme Court's decision in an another obscenity case, which was decided while Jenkins’ case was on direct appeal, and its progeny. The Court concluded that the film shown by Jenkins was not obscene under the constitutional standards announced in the prior case because the film could not be found to depict sexual conduct in a patently offensive way. Therefore, the Court held that the film fell within the protection of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.