610 F.2d 1353 (5th Cir. 1980), 77-2951, Penthouse Intern., Ltd. v. McAuliffe

Docket Nº:77-2951, 78-2794.
Citation:610 F.2d 1353
Party Name:PENTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant. HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC., etc., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant. HIGH SOCIETY MAGAZINE, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant. EASTWAY ENTERPRISES, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Hinson
Case Date:February 06, 1980
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 1353

610 F.2d 1353 (5th Cir. 1980)

PENTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant.

HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC., etc., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant.

HIGH SOCIETY MAGAZINE, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant.

EASTWAY ENTERPRISES, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant.

MONTCALM PUBLISHING CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, etc., Defendant-Appellant.

PENTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, Individually and as Solicitor General of

the County ofFulton, State of Georgia,

Defendant-Appellant.

PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, Individually and as Solicitor General for

the County ofFulton, State of Georgia,

Defendant-Appellant.

PLAYBOY PUBLICATIONS, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Hinson McAULIFFE, Individually and as Solicitor General for

the County ofFulton, State of Georgia, Defendant-Appellant.

Nos. 77-2951, 78-2794.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

February 6, 1980

Page 1354

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Larry E. Parrish, Memphis, Tenn., for defendant-appellant.

Herald Price Fahringer, Paul J. Cambria, Jr., Barbara J. Davies, Buffalo, N. Y., for plaintiff-appellee.

Carl Ruderman, pro se, for High Soc. Magazine, Eastway Enterprises, Ltd. and Montcalm Publishing Corp.

Gambrell & Mobley, James L. Paul, Katharine C. Robey, Atlanta, Ga., Grutman & Schafrann, Norman R. Grutman, New York City, for Penthouse Intern., Ltd.

Smith, Cohen, Ringel, Kohler & Martin, Warren C. Fortson, David K. Whatley, Atlanta, Ga., Devoe, Shadur & Krupp, Neil H. Adelman, Chicago, Ill., for Playboy Enterprises, Inc. and Playboy Publications, Inc.

Michael A. Bamberger, New York City, for American Booksellers Assoc., Inc., The Assoc. of American Publishers Inc., et al., amici curiae.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Before THORNBERRY, CHARLES CLARK and KRAVITCH, Circuit Judges.

THORNBERRY, Circuit Judge:

Penthouse International, Ltd. (Penthouse) and Hustler Magazine, Inc. (Hustler) separately filed complaints for declaratory and preliminary as well as permanent injunctive relief on July 29, 1977. Similar complaints were filed on August 2, 1977, by High Society Magazine, Inc. (High Society) and on August 4, 1977 by Eastway Enterprises Ltd. (Eros) and Montcalm Publishing Corporation (Gallery). 1 These parties sought relief against McAuliffe as an individual and in his capacity as Solicitor General for Fulton County, Georgia. The publishers sought to enjoin McAuliffe's activities which culminated in prosecutions of individuals who sold the complainants' magazines for alleged violations of Georgia

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Code § 26-2101, 2 which prohibits the distribution of obscene materials. Complainants sought relief in their capacity as publishers of the magazines because their income is derived from the sale of magazines to a primary local distributor and several local retailers. These individuals were being arrested by McAuliffe and they refused to continue selling complainants' magazines. The substantive claims of the complainants arise under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The complaint of each publisher alleged in essence that McAuliffe had embarked on an intentional course of conduct that resulted in the termination of sales of the August 1977 issues of their respective magazines in Fulton County, Georgia. This was allegedly accomplished through a program of bad faith and harassment including arrests of several retailers. The complainants sought a temporary restraining order against future arrests for alleged violations of the Georgia statute as well as against other intimidating conduct on the part of McAuliffe. They also sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief. In addition, complainants sought a declaration that the August 1977 issues of their respective magazines were not obscene.

All of the complainants' cases were consolidated for purposes of discovery as were the applications for preliminary and permanent injunctions. On August 15 and 16, 1977, Judge Freeman conducted an evidentiary hearing resulting in the issuance of an order on August 25, 1977. This order permanently enjoined McAuliffe from making further arrests under Georgia Code § 26-

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2101 for the sale of the August issues of the publications in question without first obtaining an arrest warrant. Judge Freeman also declared that McAuliffe's enforcement activities under color of Georgia law, "consisting of numerous and harassing arrests with or without a warrant prior to a final adjudication upon the issue of obscenity Vel non at an adversary hearing constitutes a prior restraint violative of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution." Penthouse International, Ltd. v. McAuliffe, 436 F.Supp. 1241, 1256 (N.D.Ga.1977). Judge Freeman also declared that the August 1977 issue of "Penthouse" was not obscene within the meaning of Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 93 S.Ct. 2607, 37 L.Ed.2d 419 (1973), and the Georgia statute.

A second set of complaints was filed by Penthouse on December 9, 1977, and by Playboy Enterprises, Inc. and Playboy Publications, Inc. (Playboy) on December 14, 1977, against McAuliffe, individually and in his capacity as Solicitor General. These complaints sought declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the January 1978 issues of "Penthouse," "Playboy," and "Oui" magazines. The complaints alleged bad faith conduct on the part of McAuliffe in violation of Judge Freeman's earlier order dated August 25, 1977, and sought a declaration that the magazines in question were not obscene. Judge Freeman only granted declaratory relief in this case consisting of statements that the magazines in question were not obscene within the meaning of Miller and that McAuliffe must apply the Georgia statute so as to consider the magazines "as a whole."

Before evaluating the propriety of Judge Freeman's findings, an examination of the surrounding factual circumstances is warranted. In 1976, McAuliffe, as Solicitor General of Fulton County, Georgia, initiated a program in which action was taken against Atlanta's "yellow front" adult bookstores. Between January 1977 and August 1977, his office was responsible for bringing between fifteen and twenty obscenity cases to trial seeking convictions for the sale of hard-core materials in adult bookstores.

For some time before the arrests involved in this case, McAuliffe had received complaints that "obscene" materials were being vended at the airport newsstands. The magazines complained of were "Hustler," "High Society," "Oui," "Genesis" and "Playboy." In July of 1977, McAuliffe decided, as a result of his conclusion that his earlier prosecutions were having an insufficient deterrent effect, that his office would expand the scope of its actions by prosecuting for the sale of magazines deemed to be obscene, even though they were sold in convenience food stores and drug stores. McAuliffe determined that he would institute investigations which he expected would result in numerous arrests in various sections of Fulton County, Georgia. Two separate teams of investigators were dispatched to the north and south sides of Atlanta. A procedure was adopted whereby the investigators would usually identify themselves upon entering a retail establishment. They would then usually purchase a magazine and examine its contents. If the magazine was determined to be obscene, the retailer was asked if he was aware of the magazine's contents. If the retailer said yes, he was arrested without a warrant. If the retailer said no, the officers would return the next day to see if the magazines were still being displayed. If the magazines were still being displayed on the second trip, the retailer was then arrested. At no time did the investigators possess specific instructions concerning particularly named or identified issues of particular magazines. No written guidelines were provided for interpreting or enforcing the Georgia statute nor were any written instructions provided to the investigators. Neither McAuliffe nor his principal prosecutor reviewed in advance the particular magazines which served as the basis for the arrests. The investigators essentially possessed sole discretion for determining whether the Georgia statute was being violated.

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The only limitation was that they were required to establish that any offensive pictorial material appearing in a publication was in no way related to written material which might appear in the same publication.

McAuliffe began making arrests on July 18, 1977, and continued to do so until July 29, 1977, when Judge Freeman granted the complainants a temporary restraining order. On July 18, 1977, the investigators went to the Atlanta airport and arrested without a warrant Troy Poss, manager of the airport newsstand for selling "Penthouse," "Hustler," "Genesis," and "Oui," claiming a violation of the Georgia obscenity statute. While Mr. Poss was arrested for the sale of all four magazines, the investigator merely reviewed "Hustler" for about thirty minutes and the other three magazines for a total of five minutes before making the arrest. On the same day, Mr. Sidney Gordon was arrested without a warrant at Mill's Discount drugs for selling "Hustler." On the next day, Mr. Asa Hall was arrested without a warrant at the Nifty Food Mart for selling "High Society," "Genesis," and "Oui." On that date, articles appeared in the...

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