9th Circuit chief justice: porn master

The chief justice of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals apparently needs a refresher course on Internet technology. Alex Kozinski stored sexually explicit photos and videos on his personal web site, stating later that he thought no one could access the materials. Uh, sure:

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One of the highest-ranking federal judges in the United States, who is currently presiding over an obscenity trial in Los Angeles, has maintained a publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos.

Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as “funny.”

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends. After the interview Tuesday evening, he blocked public access to the site.

I suppose he could have been ignorant enough to think that material uploaded to a personal website couldn’t be accessed by the public, but unfortunately, he also admitted to sharing the site with his friends. That would tend to indicate that the material was purposefully left accessible to web surfers lucky or unlucky enough to stumble on his site.

The bigger question is whether Kozinski didn’t have better things to do with his time. He claims never to have used court computer systems to maintain the site, but even then, the kind of material calls into question Kozinski’s judgment. The images included farm animals, women painted as farm animals, transsexuals, and excretory functions. Kozinski told the LA Times that he didn’t intend to store those images and must have mistaken them for other, less bizarre pictures and videos.

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Uh-huh.

And while we can point to the 9th Circuit as the most liberal appellate bench in the nation, Kozinski is a Reagan appointee and considered one of the court’s more conservative members.

Kozinski may want to recuse himself from this obscenity case. Clearly, the exposure of this part of Kozinski’s private life will cause some to question his objectivity in determining the the community standards involved in adjudicating obscenity. Given the descriptions of Kozinski’s gallery, I doubt he’s in much of a position to know those standards in any case.

Update:  Over at Patterico, a bit of a debate is going on between Patterico and Justin Levine.  Patterico calls the images “pornographic, perverted, and/or disturbing”; Justin says, rather pedestrian and innocuous.  Most disturbing from a legal point of view were the voluminous number of copyrighted MP3s on Kozinski’s site, which indicate that the judge was sharing files illegally.

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Beege Welborn 5:00 PM | June 18, 2024
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