RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Village of Arlington Heights
DOCKET NO.: 75-708
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
CITATION: 430 US 188 (1977)
ARGUED: Nov 01, 1976 / Nov 02, 1976
DECIDED: Mar 01, 1977
Robert H. Bork - for respondent
Robert Eugene Smith - for petitioners
Facts of the case
Media for Marks v. United States
- Opinion Announcement - March 01, 1977
- Oral Argument - November 01, 1976
- Oral Argument - November 02, 1976
Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 02, 1976 in Marks v. United States
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 01, 1977 in Marks v. United States
Warren E. Burger:
The judgments and opinion of the Court in 75-708, Marks and others against the United States will be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:
The petitioners in this case were the operators of a movie theater in Newport Kentucky.
They were charged with transporting obscene materials in the interstate commerce in violation of a federal statute.
The alleged violation occurred in early 1973 before our decision in Miller against California.
In Miller, we announced new standards by which to decide whether allegedly obscene materials are protected by the First Amendment.
The instructions to the jury in this case were based on Miller rather than prior law.
Since the conduct had issue occurred before Miller, we think it was error to apply the Miller standards retroactively.
We would not influence criminal liability if a conduct not punishable under the earlier standards.
We therefore reverse the convictions and remand the case.
Mr. Justice Brennan filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part in which Mr. Justice Stewart and Mr. Justice Marshall joined.
Mr. Justice Stevens also filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
Warren E. Burger:
Thank you Mr. Justice Powell.