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February 02, 1988|JOHN VOLAND | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

In a sharply split 4-3 decision, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday the commonwealth's law forbidding children under the age of 18 from posing in the nude is unconstitutional. The decision overturned the conviction of a man who took pictures of his semi-nude 15-year-old stepdaughter. In a majority opinion written by Justice Herbert Wilkins, the court ruled that separating the constitutional issues of conduct and speech "would undercut the foundation of First Amendment protections." Wilkins added in a footnote: "The artists who painted some of the world's greatest paintings engaged in behavior made unlawful if they used child models."

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