Down in central Florida, in a county that has regularly voted Republican in presidential races, the First Amendment guarantee of free speech is bumping up against allegations of obscenity over a highly controversial guidebook to pedophilia.
“I think there’s some room for debate,” said Lyrissa Lidsky, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law who specializes in First Amendment issues. “The case raises potentially fascinating issues.”
For one thing, she said, “obscenity” is defined by local community standards. But she said a case like this could end up before the Supreme Court, where some justices have expressed a willingness to examine whether, in the age of the Internet, the community standard should go far beyond local.
The controversy began when Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd — outraged that no one was doing anything — directed his detectives to go undercover and order a book titled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct.” The book was self-published by a man named Phillip R. Greaves II of Pueblo, Colo., and was briefly sold on Amazon but was removed following protests.
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