Case Conclusion Date: January 13, 2006
Practice Area: Internet
Outcome: Settled - No jail, no felony conviction.
Description: One of the first obscenity prosecutions against user-generated Internet content. This case involved an effort by Polk County, Florida to censor online material given its dislike for the nature of the website involved. The site included both amateur erotic photos along with images directly from the battlefield in the War in Iraq. Evidence indicated that the prosecution was politically motivated by the Pentagon, due to the explicit images from the increasingly unpopular Iraq War. Wilson was prosecuted for 301 counts of obscenity; an unprecedented effort in charge stacking. After Wilson bonded out, the state revoked his bond due to his continued operation of the website while on pretrial release. Our firm pursued an emergency petition for writ of habeas corpus to the District Court of Appeal, who ordered Wilson released immedately from illegal incarceration. Thereafter, the State dropped all but a few misdemeanor charges, and agreed to a no jail plea deal. The case was followed closely by the media, including Rolling Stone Magazine which wrote an article about the political underpinnings of the case: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/8878187/casualty_of_porn. Polk County has been known for its hostile treatment of anyone involved with erotic expression or adult entertainment.