POLICY CONCERNING PORNOGRAPHY
- The Prosecuting Attorney's Office will review any complaints investigated by a law enforcement agency or private citizen to determine whether a criminal charge should be filed in a pornography case.
- The Prosecuting Attorney's Office will file a charge or seek a civil forfeiture on any material that unquestionably violates the Missouri obscenity statute beyond a reasonable doubt.
A. The test for whether material is obscene is set out by Missouri statute:
"Obscene" -- Any material or performance is obscene if:
- (a) Applying contemporary community standards, its predominant appeal is to prurient interest in sex; and
- (b) Taken as a whole with the average person, applying contemporary community standards, it depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offense way; and
- (c) Taken as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
B. In general, as long as the sexually explicit material involves only consenting adults, and is being purchased, sold or displayed only to consenting adults, any doubt whether to file the case will be resolved in favor of the private citizen, and the charge will not be filed.
C. Conversely, if children are depicted in the material, or if the material is furnished to children, or if it is displayed so that children may see it, any doubt whether to file the case will be resolved in favor of the government and the charge will definitely be filed.
D. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office will encourage local law enforcement officers to periodically check to be sure local stores are not furnishing pornography to minors, or displaying it in a way that it could be viewed by nonconsenting adults.
E. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office will not act as a censor to screen a local store's merchandise to give legal advice as to what material is obscene and what is not. Instead, copies of the Missouri pornography statutes will be made available upon request. Each merchant carrying adult material will be responsible for knowing the law and will run the risk of being prosecuted and convicted if the material he carries is unquestionably obscene.