WARNING: some of the images in this story are for mature audiences and may be offensive to some viewers.
OKLAHOMA CITY – One Oklahoma lawmaker is pushing to strengthen punishment for anyone convicted of obscenity and in the process has shed some light on the wording of laws involving such crimes.
We’re talking about House Bill 2349.
Sometimes things we get in the mail can make us blush but what exactly is too hot to handle?
One Oklahoma lawmaker wants to strengthen an Oklahoma law that basically says no one can publish anything that is obscene.
But what is considered obscene?
“It is patently offensive to the average person. It has a theme of interest in lewd sex and then to the average person has no literary, artistic or scientific value or purpose,” Kern said.
Attorney David Slane argues cases like this all of the time.
One you might remember involved a former Oklahoma City Police officer by the name of Maurice Martinez.
One of his many charges included possessions of obscene material.
“Say you were to receive a brown paper package in the mail and you can tell this is probably obscene material, my guess is you’d probably throw it away, but lets say you didn’t lets say you opened it and looked at it. Have you committed a crime? No.”
But according to the law, whoever posted it online or sent it in the mail could be committing a crime, especially if it carries a generic label like “current resident” as many catalogs do.
“I think something like a Victoria’s Secret magazine or something on Facebook posting because you distribute it to others when you send it could become something that a person could be prosecuted,” Slane said.
Slane said while Kern’s intentions are good because it draws attention to a law that may be so unconstitutionally vague, it won’t hold up in court.
He said it will ultimately waste tax payer dollars to defend it.