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BULLET St. Louis City Revised Code Chapter 15.32 Division III Obscenity

St. Louis City Revised Code (annotated) has been converted to electronic format by the staff of the St. Louis Public Library. This electronic version has been done for the interest and convenience of the user. These are unofficial versions and should be used as unofficial copies.

Official printed copies of St. Louis City Revised Code may be obtained from the Register's Office at the St. Louis City Hall.


Division III. Offenses Against Public Decency

Chapter 15.32
Obscenity

Sections:

15.32.010 Decent Literature Commission--Members--Terms.
15.32.020 Decent Literature Commission--Officers--Meetings.
15.32.030 Decent Literature Commission--Organization--Funds.
15.32.040 Decent Literature Commission--Powers and purposes.
15.32.050 Definitions.
15.32.060 Promotion, possession or presentation of pornographic material.
15.32.070 Furnishing pornographic materials to minors.
15.32.080 Evidence of intent.
15.32.090 Display of pornographic material.
15.32.100 Applicability to cable television franchises.
15.32.110 Penalty for violation.

Prior ordinance history:

Ords. 50284, 55621, 56704, 57066

Prior code history:

1960 C. 747.010--747.060

15.32.010 Decent literature commission--Members--Terms.

There shall be a group of citizens of the City which shall be known and designated as the Decent Literature Commission. The Decent Literature Commission shall consist of seven members to be appointed by the Mayor. The members shall serve without remuneration and at the pleasure of the Mayor. Members of the former Board of Review, with their staggered terms of office, shall constitute the Decent Literature Commission. Successors to members of said first board to act on the Commission shall be appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of their predecessor. or if none, then for three years. Any vacancy in the membership of the Commission shall be filled by appointment by the Mayor, the appointee to serve for the unexpired portion of the term in which the vacancy occurs.
(Ord. 51871 4 (part), 1963: 1960 C. 746.010.)

15.32.020 Decent Literature Commission--Officers--Meetings.

The Commission shall appoint a chairman and a secretary from its membership, who shall serve for such term as the Commission may fix, and they shall perform the duties usually incident to their respective positions and other duties as may be prescribed by the Commission. It shall fix its time and place of meetings, and shall, except as provided in this chapter, adopt other procedures as in its own judgment shall be necessary for the successful administration of the provisions and consummation of the purposes of this chapter.
(Ord. 51871 4 (part), 1963: 1960 C. 746.020.)

15.32.030 Decent Literature Commission--Organization--Funds.

The Decent Literature Commission shall be organized within the Department of Welfare. The Department shall provide for and supply to the Commission office space, materials, supplies, and all other necessaries for the proper functioning of the Commission. The Commission shall derive its appropriations through the Department of Welfare. The Commission may employ an administrative assistant and other employees as may be required and as approved by the Mayor.

The Commission shall operate on funds to be used on appropriation. The Commission may also receive and use funds and other property as are forthcoming from private and public sources in furthering the purposes of the Commission.
(Ord. 51871 4 (part), 1963: 1960 C. 746.030.)

15.32.040 Decent Literature Commission--Powers and purposes.

The Commission shall:

A. Attempt in all possible ways to properly influence the community so as to safeguard the youth and general public of the City from the vice of obscene literature,

B. Cooperate with national, state, and municipal authorities, boards or commissions, with publishers, distributors, agencies, or dealers in publications and with voluntary agencies and organizations dedicated to the elimination of obscenity in printed form and delinquency as influenced by printed obscenity, in the study of ways and means of preventing publications of the type described in this chapter from having any effect or presence in the City;

C. Gather information and keep informed with regard to publications found within the City of the nature described in this chapter;

D. Provide a source of material for reference and disbursal purposes, including reference materials, films, exhibits, actual court evidence, information of outside references, library of pertinent speeches, and other useful, informative, and educational data;

E. Provide a speakers bureau from interested persons or groups; a training school therefor; development of speech materials; and speech engagements coordination;

F. Encourage higher reading standards through cooperation with libraries, schools, and other interested persons, groups, and associations; dissemination of pertinent materials for supplementary and educational purposes to the public through these sources; and in general effect an enlightenment of the public to the present obscene literature problem through whatever source possible, public or private, individual, or group. The Commission shall take positive or negative curative action as it shall deem proper so as to effectuate the intents and purposes of this chapter;

G. Expect and receive the aid and cooperation of all City offices and departments, the Police Department, and the St. Louis County Board of Review;

H. Receive and consider, for public educational purposes, complaints as to the violation or alleged violation of this chapter, and shall report same to the Chief of Police for his independent action thereon;

I. Make recommendations from time to time to the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen as to legislative enactments it may deem desirable in relation to obscene publications;

J. File annually a report with the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen relating its activities to date and analyzing the progress made in its estimation toward affecting the purposes of this chapter.

K. Any specified powers granted in this enactment are not to the exclusion of any proper powers reasonably inferable therefrom in the light of the reasons for and the purposes of the Decent Literature Commission. Nothing herein is to empower or authorize any unlawful censorship, or public pronouncements by the commission in reference to any person or specific publication.
(Ord. 51871 4 (part), 1963: 1960 C. 746.040.)

15.32.050 Definitions.

A. "Pornographic." Any material or performance is "pornographic" if, considered as a whole, applying contemporary community standards:

1. Its predominant appeal is to prurient interest in sex; and

2. It depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and

3. It lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

In determining whether any material or performance is pornographic, it shall be judged with reference to its impact upon ordinary adults.

B. "Material" means anything printed or written, or any picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture film, or pictorial representation, or any statue or other figure, or any recording or transcription, or any mechanical, chemical, or electrical reproduction, or anything which is or may be used as a means of communication. "Material" includes undeveloped photographs, molds, printing plates and other latent representational objects.

C. "Performance" means any play, motion picture film, dance or exhibition performed before an audience.

D. "Promote" means to manufacture, issue, sell, provide, mail, deliver, transfer, transmute, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise, or to offer or agree to do the same.

E. "Furnish" means to issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit or otherwise provide.

F. "Minor" means any person under the age of eighteen.

G. "Pornographic for minors." Any material or performance is "pornographic for minors" if it is primarily devoted to description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse and:

1. Its predominant appeal is to prurient interest in sex; and

2. It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and

3. It lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

H. "Nudity" means the showing of post-pubertal human genitals or pubic area, with less than a fully opaque covering.

I. "Sexual conduct" means acts of human masturbation; deviate sexual intercourse; sexual intercourse; or physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or the breast of a female in the act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.

J. "Sexual excitement" means the condition of human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal.

K. "Sadomasochistic abuse" means flagellation or torture by or upon a person as an act of sexual stimulation or gratification.

L. "Explicit sexual material" means any pictorial or three dimensional material depicting human masturbation, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual intercourse, direct physical stimulation or unclothed genitals, sadomasochistic abuse, or emphasizing the depiction of post-pubertal human genitals, provided however, that works of art or of anthropological significance shall not be deemed to be within the foregoing definition.

M. "Displaying publicly" means exposing, placing, posting, exhibiting, or in any fashion displaying in any location, whether public or private, an item in such a manner that it may be readily seen and its content or character distinguished by normal unaided vision viewing it from a street, highway or public sidewalk, or from the property of others.
(Ord. 58539 2, 1982.)

15.32.060 Promotion, possession or presentation of pornographic material.

Any person, firm, or corporation, who, knowing its consent and character:

A. Promotes or possesses with the purpose to promote any pornographic material for pecuniary gain; or

B. Produces, presents, directs or participates in any pornographic performance for pecuniary gain, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with Section 15.32.110.
(Ord. 58539 3, 1982.)

V.A.M.S.:

Ch. 573 Pornography and related offenses

Cases:

Only where ordinance is unconstitutional or otherwise invalid and attempts to enforce it results in irreparable injury to property rights is court authorized to restrain its enforcement by police. State ex rel. Cervantes v. Bloom, 485 S.W. 2d 446 (1972).

McQuillin:

24.17 Suppression of obscene literature

24.113 Prohibition of publication of obscene literature

15.32.070 Furnishing pornographic materials to minors.

Any person, firm, or corporation, who, knowing its consent and character:

A. Furnishes any material pornographic for minors, knowing that the person to whom it is furnished is a minor or acting in reckless disregard of the likelihood that such person is a minor; or

B. Produces, presents, directs or participates in any performance pornographic for minors that is furnished to a minor knowing that any person viewing such performance is a minor or acting in reckless disregard of the likelihood that a minor is viewing the performance, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with Section 15.32.110.
(Ord. 58539 4, 1982.)

V.A.M.S.:

573.040 Furnishing pornographic materials to minors.

15.32.080 Evidence of intent.

In any prosecution under Sections 15.32.050 through 15.32.110 evidence shall be admissible to show:

A. What the predominant appeal of the material or performance would be for ordinary adults or minors;

B. The literary, artistic, political, or scientific value of the material or performance;

C. The degree of public acceptance in this state and in the local community;

D. The appeal to prurient interest in advertising or other promotion of the material or performance;

E. The purpose of the author, creator, promoter, furnisher or publisher of the material or performance;

F. Testimony of the author, creator, promoter, furnisher, publisher, or expert testimony, relating to factors entering into the determination of the issues of pornography, shall be admissible.
(Ord. 58539 5, 1982.)

15.32.090 Display of pornographic material.

Any person, firm or corporation who knowingly:

A. Displays publicly explicit sexual material; or

B. Fails to take prompt action to remove such a display from property in his possession after learning of its existence is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with Section 15.32.110.
(Ord. 58539 6, 1982.)

15.32.100 Applicability to cable television franchises.

This ordinance shall be incorporated by express reference in any ordinance or contract awarding a cable television franchise within the city, and in any contract to which the city is a party concerning the provision of cable television service in the city, and Sections 15.32.050 through 15.32.110 shall be a rule and regulation pursuant to any cable television franchise awarded by the city. Any person, firm or corporation holding a franchise for operation of a cable television system in the city who is convicted of a violation of Sections 15.32.050 through 15.32.110, may, in the discretion of the board of aldermen, forfeit his franchise.
(Ord. 58539 8, 1982.)

15.32.110 Penalty for violation.

Any person, firm or corporation convicted of a violation of Sections 15.32.060, 15.32.070 or 15.32.090 shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ninety days, or both.
(Ord. 58539 7, 1982.)

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