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Court Sanctions Challenge to Pandering Law

November 20, 1987|From the Associated Press

A former traffic officer and call girl who wants to make an explicit movie demonstrating "safe sex" may proceed with a legal challenge to Los Angeles authorities' anti-pornography campaign, a federal appeals court has ruled.

In a unanimous decision issued Tuesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a civil rights suit filed by Norma Jean Almodovar and film maker R. N. Bullard seeking to halt the use of pandering laws against makers of adult movies.

Pandering laws, which make it illegal to exchange money for sex, have traditionally been used against pimps. But local law agencies recently have been charging makers of X-rated films with pandering, a practice under review by the state Supreme Court in a separate case.

"Certainly, the requirement that sex be exchanged for money to constitute prostitution might be limited so as not to include performance before a camera," Judge Dorothy W. Nelson wrote for the appeals court.

The court reversed a U.S. District Court judge's dismissal of Almodovar's suit against Los Angeles police and county prosecutors, but said that hearing of the suit should be delayed until after state courts have ruled in the other case.

In a case pending before the state Supreme Court, Los Angeles film maker Harold Freeman is challenging his conviction for pandering for hiring actresses to perform sex before the cameras.

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