Tuesday, August 03, 1999

Potential jurors warned on videos

Twelve will judge graphic sex scenes

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Potential jurors for an obscenity trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court were told Monday that the case will require watching three graphic videos.

        The court will resume today in the effort to seat 12 jurors and two alternates in a case in which Peter Tomaino, the owner of VIP Video Store in Millville, and two of his clerks, Billie J. Doan and Caroletha Geter, are charged with three counts of pandering obscenity.

        The charges involve the purchase of three adult videos by undercover police officers.

        One of the defense attorneys, H. Louis Sirkin, warned prospective jurors that if they were seated on the jury, they would have to watch three sexually explicit videos — Best of Freaks, Orgymania and Sinderella She Male.

        Defense attorneys, Assistant Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer and Judge Keith Spaeth told prospective jurors that they will have to apply the court's legal definition of ob scenity to the three videos.

        The court excused nine prospective jurors Monday, either because they indicated they could not be fair and impartial in this case or because serving on the jury would be an undue hardship for them.

        Attorneys questioned proposective jurors about their views on sex, pornography, obscenity and other personal values.

        Some people expressed uneasiness in discussing personal sexual beliefs in court.

        One woman said she wasn't sure if she could watch every minute of the adult videos that will be shown during the trial.

        A man said he could not set aside his religious beliefs in rendering a decision if the court's definition of obscenity conflicted with what he believed to be God's teachings.

        Judge Spaeth accepted the proscution's motion to allow a conviction of the defendants if the jury believes they aided and abetted each other in the pandering of obscenity. That means that a conviction would not depend on whether each of the defendants directly sold one of the adult videos to the undercover police officers.


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