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First Amendment

2012

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Free speech

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United States V. Stevens: Win, Loss, Or Draw For Animals?, David N. Cassuto Jan 2012

United States V. Stevens: Win, Loss, Or Draw For Animals?, David N. Cassuto

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

Robert J. Stevens, proprietor of “Dogs of Velvet and Steel,” was indicted for marketing dog-fighting videos in violation of 18 U.S.C. §48, a law criminalizing visual or auditory depictions of animals being “intentionally mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed” if such conduct violated federal or state law where “the creation, sale, or possession [of such materials]” takes place.” The law aimed principally at makers and distributors of “crush videos” wherein women wearing high heels and depicted from the waist down, grind small animals to death. However, the language of 18 U.S.C. §48 extended to dog-fighting as well. Stevens challenged the law …