On Oct. 22 the U.S. Justice Department announced its plan to implement the recommendations of the Pornography Commission.
The plan basically consists of a task force of assistant U.S. Attorneys or ''assistant prosecutors" who will be available to help the local U.S. attorneys in various cities in the prosecution of child pornography and
violent and degrading adult obscenity. It will affect federal enforcement as follows:1. FBI - When FBI agents bring violations of the interstate transportation of obscene material to the local U.S. attorney, he will have the help he needs to prosecute the case. The x-rated movie and video tape industry is producing 150 new films in the United States each month and shipping millions of copies over state lines each month. The Los Angeles U.S. Attorney Robert Bonner will need the most help since 80 percent of these obscene tapes are produced in and then shipped from his jurisdiction.
2. Customs - The Customs Service has had a good record of intercepting the tons of child pornography and adult obscenity that are shipped into this country from overseas. Much foreign child porn is made from photos of American children, printed overseas and then shipped back. Customs officials have been frustrated by the lack of prosecution from the U.S. Attorneys in key ports of entry, like New York City. New York City U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani has had a good record of prosecuting organized crime, but he has almost totally avoided obscenity prosecutions at a key port of entry and a key production and distribution center. Customs officials have had to bring cases in other jurisdictions after the obscene material leaves the port of New York. Mr. Giuliani will get the help he needs to bring more cases in New York City, a major production and distribution center.
3. Postal Service - Many postal inspectors are frustrated that local U.S. attorneys will not give priority to obscene mail violations. One leading postal inspector in New York City has been so disappointed by a lack of cooperation from the U.S. Attorney in New York City that he is thinking of quitting obscenity enforcement to return to drug enforcement. There are more than 100,000 mailings of obscenity violations daily and the U.S. Postal Service has won only two convictions in recent years. Paul McGeady, director of Morality in Media's National Obscenity Law Center, says that the Postal Service has not realized that "decoy letters" are constitutional for identifying mailing of obscenity violators. Without vigorous federal prosecution by the U.S. Attorneys the Postal Service has become the number one distributor of pornography.
4. The Federal Communications Commission - Until recently the FCC was under the impression that the Justice Department through its U.S. attorneys would act on complaints of "obscene or indecent" broadcasting on local stations. The confidential manual of the Justice Department recently was shown to the FCC leadership by members of the National Decency Forum. When the FCC leadership realized that the Justice Department was referring broadcasting complaints back to the FCC, they were shocked. Soon thereafter the FCC began civil proceedings against local broadcasters in California for alleged ''indecent or obscene" broadcasting. These were the first decency enforcement actions by the FCC in eight years. U.S. Attorneys could bring cases for "obscene" broadcasts on cable TV for example, but it would require a major battle with the pornographers. They will need a team of special assistants to do their job in many areas of obscenity enforcement.
All 93 U.S. Attorneys together have averaged fewer than a dozen obscenity cases a year in the entire United States in recent years. The pornography industry has become a $9 billion dollar a year plague on our culture in the wake of this lax enforcement.
The Attorney General's new obscenity task force may give the U.S. Attorney's the incentive and assistance they need to send many pornographers to prison or other money-making pursuits.