JUNE 12, 2008
The chief judge of the nation’s largest federal appeals court has been forced to suspend an obscenity trial he was presiding over because his personal and publicly accessible website contains sexually explicit and offensive images.
Prosecutors requested the stay in the obscenity trial of a Hollywood adult filmmaker to explore the obvious conflict of interest that could be created by the presiding judge having a sexually explicit website with similar material to what is on trial. The filmmaker, Ira Isaacs, is accused of distributing criminally obscene sexual fetish videos.
Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has acknowledged posting the adult content, which he calls funny, odd and interesting on his website. However, the judge conceded in an interview with the California newspaper that broke the story that some of the postings were inappropriate. Due to the material’s graphic nature this blog won’t offer detailed descriptions, which can be obtained in the newspaper article.
Kozinski, who is considered a conservative on most issues, says it was strictly by chance that he ended up presiding over this particular trial in Los Angeles. Though it’s not common, appellate judges occasionally handle criminal trial court cases when their calendars are free.
A judge for nearly three decades, Kozinski was appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan in 1985. A few years later the first President Bush seriously considered nominating him for Supreme Court openings in 1990 and 1991. In 2001 the judge led a successful campaign to stop court officials in Washington D.C. from monitoring the internet use of federal judges and court employees.
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