Miller v. California (1973)

Miller v. California
413 U.S. 15 (1973)

Facts: Miller was convicted of knowingly distributing obscene matter under the California Penal code for mass mailings of catalogs for adult material.

Issue: May a state identify and regulate obscene material without violating the First Amendment?

Holding: Yes.

Analysis: Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment. State statutes designed to regulate obscene material must be limited. The scope of the regulation must be limited to works which depict or describe sexual conduct. The conduct must be specifically defined by the state law. The basic guidelines are: (a) whether the “average person” would find that the work would appeal to the prurient interest; (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.

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