Brad Messer Commentary
Friday, June 27, 2003

D R A F T

Poor Man's Justice

Many Americans believe we have two separate justice systems— one for rich people, another for the rest of us.

I believe we had an example of Average Joe justice this week in the Benito Tovar "porn or art?" trial.

Tovar had taken some black-and-white photos of a nude 16-year-old boy posing in broad daylight on the River Walk.

Tovar was charged with possession of child pornography.

The foundation of the case was most simple: were the photos porn, or art? If the boy was being lewd in his poses, porn, and go to jail: otherwise, art, and go free.

A jury with no reported art training defined it as pornography.

Tovar was led off in handcuffs as family members wept in the courtroom.

Here is an exerpt from the San Antonio Express-News report, quote:

After their verdict, jurors questioned Tovar’s court-appointed attorneys on why they never brought in an art expert to testify in their client’s behalf. Attorney David Cuellar said he was working under a limited budget...

With money for expert testimony, perhaps Benito Tovar could have convinced the jury that art is in the eye of the beholder. Without money, without even one word of qualified art testimony, Benito Tovar got the poor man's justice.

Brad Messer commentary, KTSA.


San Antonio Express-News 6/26/2003
Jurors say photos of nude teen were porn, not art

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