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For week ended September 12, 1999 Posted 19 Sep 1999

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Movie Buffs prosecutor has few regrets

Summarized by Gregor McHardy

Movie Buffs prosecutor has few regrets
Deseret News 6Sep99 L5
By Edward L. Carter: Deseret News staff writer

Three years ago the Utah County prosecutor opened a case against "Movie Buffs," charging that the store was distributing pornographic videos. After a long investigation, trial and mistrial, and finally a retrial, the defendant was acquitted.

Deputy county attorney Curtis Larson, a High Councilman &Bishopric member in his ward, had to spend three weeks reviewing 450 videotapes, many of them beneath the dignity of his calling. But even after a hung jury and an acquittal, he feels a sense of victory." How?

The hung jury really was not ambiguous on the charges against Movie Buffs, just against the punishment that should be meted out. All six members found the videos they had watched in a courtroom to be pornographic, but one juror refused to convict because he did not feel like he could tell other people what they could or could not watch.

In the second trial Larson said that the defending attorney did "not so much [have] an interest that justice was done as there was a feeling that he wanted this guy off at all costs. He seemed to take the case way too personally."

Larson's real sense of victory came from the estimated 99% of the comments he got from Utah County residents were in support of the prosecution. And despite the acquittal, he said the case has had a chilling effect on other Utah County businesses that offered sexually explicit material.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information