Duquesne Law Review


David C. Baldus


The trend of Pennsylvania and United States Supreme Court decisions during the past decade has steadily reduced the number of lawful methods which Pennsylvania law enforcement officials may use to prevent the public exhibition of a motion picture they consider to be obscene. During the summer of 1965 in Allegheny County, for example, detectives attempted without success to halt the local showing of "Promises! Promises!," a film which they believed was legally obscene. The detectives secured a search warrant, seized the films and arrested the exhibitors, charging them with the crime of exhibiting an obscene motion picture. The officers apparently intended to hold the films pending completion of the obscenity prosecution. If the films had been found obscene in the criminal action, they would have been forfeited to the Commonwealth; if not, they would have been returned to the exhibitors. The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, however, held that the county government could not interfere with the exhibition of the films prior to a judicial determination that they were actually obscene. By court order "Promises! Promises!" was returned to the exhibitors and presented as scheduled in neighborhood theaters.

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