Arkansas’ obscenity statutes unconstitutional, attorney argues

Arkansas’ obscenity statutes unconstitutional, attorney argues

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - An attorney representing a couple accused of committing sex acts and recording them in public is asking a judge to declare the state’s statutes involving obscenity unconstitutional.

According to an Aug. 30 court filing in Craighead County Circuit Court, attorney Randel Miller of Jonesboro filed a motion asking that Arkansas Code Annotated 5-68-307 (which covers the public display of hard-core sexual conduct in an open public place); Arkansas Code 5-68-203 (which covers obscene films) and Arkansas Code 5-68-304 (which covers the promotion of an obscene performance) to be unconstitutional.

“All three statutes are unconstitutionally overbroad that unnecessarily infringes on defendants’ right to privacy, free expression and constitutes and unwarranted invasion into their personal life,” Miller said in the filing. “An overbroad statute is one that is designed to punish conduct which the state may rightfully punish, but which includes within its sweep constitutionally protected conduct. These obscenity laws are unconstitutional under the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. Defendant also asserts these statutes violate the Arkansas Constitution.”

In the motion, Miller is also asking that all evidence “illegally obtained” be suppressed in the case.

Miller is representing Leslie Lanae Sessions, 32, and Derek W. Calloway, 39, both of Trumann.

Sessions and Calloway were arrested in July 2017 after an investigation by Jonesboro and Trumann police.

According to Jonesboro police, Sessions reportedly committed the sex acts in public places while Calloway recorded the acts.

Police said the incidents happened at a Jonesboro restaurant, in the parking lot of a home improvement store, Craighead Forest Park and at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Nature Center.

The trial in the case is scheduled for Jan. 13-17 in Craighead County Circuit Court, while a motion and plea day is set for Jan. 2.

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