Date: Sat, 23 Jul 94 15:31:03 PDT Subject: File 5--Summary of Amateur Action BBS Trial (Da
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 94 15:31:03 PDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (H Keith Henson)
Subject: File 5--Summary of Amateur Action BBS Trial (Days 1-3)
((MODERATORS NOTE: The Amateur Action BBS trial has started, and
Keith Henson reports on the proceedings from the first three days))
AA BBS Trial--days 1 and 2.
Robert and Carleen along with their attorney had the typical problems
of defending yourself a long way from home. The airline made them
check their legal files, and then promptly lost them, plus all their
luggage. So first day was a mess, showing up before the judge in
traveling clothes--who ordered Richard Williams (their attorney) go
out and buy a suit over lunchtime. (Robert actually went out and
bought a suit for Richard. The luggage and files finally showed
up--after enough time for them all to have been run through a copier.)
All of day 1 and the first hour today was used up picking a jury.
Richard did the best he could-- considering where the trial is being
held. There was only one person who had ever been on a bbs, and the
prosecution bumped that one. There are only 2 out of 14 who have know
anything about computers, however, 9 of the 12 are men . . . . and he
did get most of the thumpers out of the mix.
I got tossed out after the opening statements because I am to be a
witness to Dirmeyer's statements. I might have been of more use
inside picking up the prosecutors abysmal ignorance than as a witness.
Ah well, perhaps I can stir up folks out here to the injustice.
Dan Newsom, small frame, gray hair opened up with a 1950's lecture on
obscenity, here a prong there a prong, what a way to spend your life!
He tried to explain GIFs, got to talking about faxes, then went off
into a really sorry description of chat mode.
He made an issue of the contents of AA BBS being wide open to the
public (not true, it being membership) and made a big issue out of
David Dirmeyer finding menu items which mentioned "teen" (And, so
what? 18-19 is legal, and nudist material of any age is legal.) He
went into the prosecution's argument that Robert had asked for the
government's kiddy porn to be shipped to him, so it could be put on
the BBS as GIFs. (Right, as if the AA Sysop would put up GIFs with
titles and subject matter like "Little Girls Like to Fuck Too! He
won't even let members upload GIFs.) Like Humpty Dumpty, the
government's term for child porn is now "action mags," and *you* are
expected to know this.
Much of the rest of the day was spent on a computer class, with
pictures of mainframes, monitors, keyboards and mice, plus diagrams
and maps. Massive boredom was setting in . . . I have been peeking
through the glass into the court room, and about 3:30 they did get to
the first of the "porn" tapes. The poor jury! I am now glad they
threw me out. Multiple hours of watching shit and piss closeups--and
no popcorn! Out of the hundreds of tapes AA had, you would think
David Dirmeyer could have picked out something with a little wider
appeal. Each to their own fetish I suppose. Richard was watching
Dirmeyer and mentioned to me that Dirmeyer (who must have seen this
one a dozen times by now) was staring at the monitor--just transfixed.
From half a dozen peeks at it, I must say the technical quality was
pretty good--you could almost smell it. :-) Audio was in German.
(Far be it from me to judge other people's harmless (if disgusting)
fetishes, but if the jury decided to lynch the prosecutor for
subjecting *them* to other people's fetish material I would be happy
to knot the rope. The variety in what people get off on out there at
5-6 sigma is amazing, and definitely not for everyone.)
5:20 improvement--the last half hour of the tape is of a woman
masturbating--after 10 minutes, it switches to regular hetro sex.
Strangely spliced. Jury is not any too happy at the prosecution for
running past 5pm.
The big unanswered question to me is *what* is the government (or this
part of it) trying to accomplish? If they want to keep this kind of
material out of the Bible Belt, there has to be more effective
approaches than going after AA BBS in California. If they want to
keep it off computers, good luck.
PS--one dismissed prospective juror was a minister who said his son
had been diagnosed as a "pornography addict." Can someone comment if
there is such a classification in the diagnostic index?
AA BBS Trial--day 3.
More videos today. David Dirmeyer is still staring at them and
occasionally adjusting his clothes. Dan Newsom sits a good distance
away from him with a grim look on his face. The jury overloaded, and
some of them dozed off. The case is not turning into a media circus.
One of the local TV stations has been there, and one stringer for AP.
Courthouse workers wonder by, stare in for a few minutes and wonder on
shaking their heads as to why Memphis has to deal with Californians.
I spent the day researching--partly looking into the different
"community" standards argument. In my view, a person such as Dirmeyer
who has bought the kind of hardware you need to download GIFs, has
read what AA BBS has to offer, sends them money or a credit card, and
goes to the trouble of downloading porn GIFs is no more a member of a
"bible belt" community than someone who has moved to San Francisco.
In fact, the physic distance one travels in just login on to the
Internet is at least that far!
It has slowly dawned on me that this trial is just a small wave on top
of a major cultural clash which is going on today. It is the
community standards of puritanical/ fundamentalist groups (serious
Catholics--the few that are left, various Baptist related groups,
Mormons, etc.) against the community standards which dominate the net.
There is an excellent article in Time this week about the spread of
net culture and its values as more people are absorbed into the net.
In spite of the net being "everywhere" (I log on through a local
telenet number in Memphis) there is a concentration of net people on
the coasts and concentration of the others through the center of the
Among the major cultural differences--I would estimate well over half
the people who read usenet news or get serious amounts of email are
aware of "jury nullification." The login cookie for the machine I use
"If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed
power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the
law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence ... and the
courts must abide by that decision."
- US v Moylan, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969, 417 F.2d at 1006
Similar quotes are in many .sig lines. Except among libertarians,
knowledge of the power of juries outside of the computer field is
My other research took me to an adult video store. No question, they
are tamer than the wildest you can get in San Francisco. But I did
note that among perhaps a thousand they had all the standard ones,
_Debby does Dallas_, _Behind the Green Door_ and, within 6 blocks of
the courthouse where the famous ruling came down, _Deep Throat_.
The case is clearly going to run over the week the judge wanted. The
prosecution has more videos to show, I think the animal ones are next.
In fact, the judge has to be away Friday. They had Dirmeyer on the
stand today and are still on trying to make out that Robert ordered
kiddy porn. I believe the argument now is that he did not *respond*
to an email message about "action mags." I will get copies of the
actual text, and will post the entire transcript.
Since there is no chance I will be called this week, I am going back
to San Jose to take care of business (Xanadu) till they have a better
idea of when I will be needed.
I will call Memphis on a daily basis and post trial news as I can.
PS. I asked why the NAFTA argument failed. The court ruled on good
logic that the entire agreement is a sham on the American public and a
fraud on Canada and Mexico--because it has absolutely no authority to
be enforced. That surprised the heck out of me, and it seems that the
AA BBS postings have had an unexpected effect as far away as the GATT
negotiations. Someone there is reported to have noticed the NAFTA
postings, and as a result, the US will be admitted to GATT only if the
agreement passes as a Treaty!
PPS. The judge also ruled on the speedy trial. It seems that the
airline losing their luggage and making them a few hours late allowed
her to rule against them on speedy trial, even though the trial was 33
days over the limit! Well, my mom always said to be prompt!
~*~ I can't believe the masses are so dumb. Or I can't believe
I am this smart! - Bill Wolff
End of Computer Underground Digest #6.67
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank