Castillo v. Texas

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You betrayed the
Law
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To punish
and protect
''Castillo v. Texas''
79 S.W. 3d 817
Decided: 2002

Castillo v. Texas was a 2002 court decision in which Jesus Castillo was convicted for selling, in 2000, adult-oriented comic books to an adult, which is evidently a crime in Texas.

Arguments[edit]

Defense[edit]

Castillo's employer did carry pornographic material, in a separate section of the store which was not available to all customers. The police officer who purchased the obscene material (clearly marked as such) was clearly an adult, so the notion that he was making obscene materials available to minors (the basis of the initial investigation) is absurd. Furthermore, the comic in question can only be considered obscene under Texas law if the comic lacks any value apart from the sexual content. Not only is this false, but it is nonsensical as pornographic magazines featuring actual people are far more accessible and perfectly legal. Even further a sign was displayed at the entrance stating, “No One Under 18 Allowed Past This Point.”, and the comic contained a warning label, “Absolutely Not For Children.”

The defense also proffered a comic artist, Scott McCloud, who testified that over 60% of "comic books" are purchased by adults, and that the movement of manga and graphic novels has moved far beyond the more "child-friendly" comics of Archie or "Silver Age" superheroes. He also testified about the quality of the drawings as art. Susan Napier testified at length about the nature of the Japanese mind (as the comic book was a Japanese novel, written by a Japanese author for a Japanese audience), Japanese hentai[note 1] manga, and the actual (complex, far too complex for a child) storyline in the manga itself.

Prosecution[edit]

Comic books are for kids, duh.

In slightly more detail, the prosecution offered no experts to challenge either expert, nor did they offer any reason why this specific comic and no other "adult" comic was targeted. The impassioned appeal to emotion that 'this is a store for kids; this was intentional' was the only real argument offered.

Decision[edit]

The jury agreed, apparently, that only kids buy "comic books", and that clearly these (Japanese — but who's counting) authors were targeting kids. The case was appealed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, but the conviction was upheld.[1] While it was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, they do not routinely take cases of this nature, as there was not a clear violation of Federal Law, so their jurisdiction is questionable. They rejected the case without consideration in 2003.[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Roughly meaning "perverted".

References[edit]