We have started an initiative to ensure that the Mentor School District, and subsequently all of Lake County schools, abide by the Ohio Revised Code section 2907.321 “Pandering Obscenity to Minors and Impaired Persons”.
We need your help to ensure that the Lake County Prosecutor, Charles Coulson, steps up to help the children of Lake County. Ultimately, we want all of the school boards in Lake County to establish a written policy that states that their respective school district will not allow the pandering of obscenity, as prohibited by ORC 2907.321, to the school children. If any teacher, librarian, superintendent, or any other employee brings obscene material into the school, they will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
From the Prosecutor’s website, we are told the following: “…the Prosecuting Attorney is vested with personal discretion entrusted to him as a minister of justice, and not merely as an advocate. The Prosecuting Attorney acts as the chief law enforcement official for the County.”
If Prosecutor Coulson chooses to ignore this issue, which elected official can we trust to protect our children???? Why should we vote for any elected official that will not make a public statement supporting the safety of the children in public schools???
The Lake County Prosecutor’s telephone number is: (440) 350-2683. Please call them and demand that the Prosecutor protect the children of Lake County.
Here is the recent email that we sent to the Lake County Prosecutor’s office after we received the letter from the Mentor Law Director:
To: Mr. Dave Hackman, Assistant Prosecutor for Lake County
Dear Mr. Hackman,
Thank you for briefly discussing our correspondence to and from the Mentor prosecutors (copies attached) regarding the ORC 2907.321 “Pandering Obscenity to Minors” at the last Commissioners’ meeting.
What I heard from you is that ORC 2907.321 deals only with incidents that have actual minors involved, and does not cover books. In addition, you believe that removing the books from schools could create a first amendment issue.
I, respectfully, disagree with that thinking. I did some on-line research and found a website of a Dayton lawyer that deals with this subject matter.
The following is an excerpt from the website:
“What Is Pandering Obscenity Of A Minor In Ohio?”
“In Ohio, the pandering obscenity of a minor law states that you are guilty of pandering obscenity of a minor when you generate, market for sale, distribute, obtain, or hold obscene material involving a minor. Ohio law defines obscene material as depicting sexual content with no purpose other than sexual interest. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove involvement at some level from the development of the content to holding it beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on your relationship and involvement with the material, you may be subject to varying degrees of penalties as stated by Ohio law.”
I looked at some U.S. Supreme Court Cases.
In the U.S. Supreme Court case Roth v. United States:
“1. In the Roth case, the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 1461, which makes punishable the mailing of material that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy . . . or other publication of an indecent character,”
In the U.S. Supreme Court case Miller v. California (superseded Roth v. United States):
“Appellant was convicted of mailing unsolicited sexually explicit material in violation of a California statute that approximately incorporated the obscenity test formulated in Memoirs v. Massachusetts, 383 U.S. 413, 418 (plurality opinion). The trial court instructed the jury to evaluate the materials by the contemporary community standards of California. Appellant’s conviction was affirmed on appeal. In lieu of the obscenity criteria enunciated by the Memoirs plurality, it is held:
1. Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment. Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, reaffirmed. 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. Pp. 23-24.
2. The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (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 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. If a state obscenity law is thus limited, First Amendment values are adequately protected by ultimate independent appellate review of constitutional claims when necessary. Pp. 24-25.
3. The test of “utterly without redeeming social value” articulated in Memoirs, supra, is rejected as a constitutional standard. Pp. 24-25.
4. The jury may measure the essentially factual issues of prurient appeal and patent offensiveness by the standard that prevails in the forum community, and need not employ a “national standard.” Pp. 30-34.
Vacated and remanded.”
We are requesting a written opinion from the Lake County Prosecutor on the legality of pornographic books in Lake County schools, whether they can be found in the libraries or brought into the classrooms by teachers.
The citizens of Lake County voted for the Prosecutor expecting that he will protect ALL Lake County residents and ensure compliance with ALL federal and state laws in Lake County; we expect him to express an opinion on this controversial issue.
Thank you for your consideration on this very important issue. I will mention this issue again at the next Commissioners’ meeting.
Lobbyists for Citizens
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Here is the original letter we sent to the Mentor and Mentor-on-the-Lake Prosecutors, with copies to the Mayor, City Manager, City Council Presidents, School Superintendent and School Board President:
Here is the response we received from the Mentor Law Director:
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