LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's tough new pornography law goes into effect today, but a court ruling that deletes a provision for fines of up to $5 million has destroyed its effectiveness against repeat offenders, its sponsor said.
U.S. District Judge Stewart Newblatt ruled Tuesday in Flint that a section of the law defining first-degree obscenity and setting fines for second offenders was unconstitutional because it was vague and would act as a prior restraint on free speech, his clerk, Suzanne Lank, said.
"We still have a valid law on the books," said state Sen. Alan Cropsey, who sponsored the measure. "The judge has just gutted out a certain key portion of it that would have gotten at the crux of it."
'All Out of Line'
The section in question provided for up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for first convictions of peddling obscenity. The prison sentences remained the same in subsequent convictions, but fines were $50,000 to $5 million.