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Municipal Judge Says 'Flaming Creature' Obscene

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Municipal Judge Says Flaming Creatures Obscene

By William B. Treml

(News Police Reporter)

The film "Ficuniny CrcrHin-c;'"
is obscene,

That holding is contained in a legal opinion released
late yesterday by Ann Arbor
Municipal Court Judge S. J.

The film has been the focal
point of a seven-month court
battle which began last January
when Ann Arbor police seized
the film as it was being shown
on the University campus by
the Cinema Guilds The seizure
,v"as fottowud '1'wo days later
by the arrest of three University
students—Ellen P. Frank, Mary
E, Barkey and Elliott S. Barden,
all 20—and a University instruc-
tor, Hubert I. Cohen, 36. The
three students were identified
as members of the Cinema Guild
board of directors, while Cohen

was named by police as ;' fac-
ulty adviser for the guild,

AH rdup*1 with
showing an i.'!;' •n pic-

The defendants demanded ex-
'amination and that procedure
was held in three segments,, the
last concluding in early June.
The film itself was shown to
ithe court twice during the ex-

After the June examination
session Judge Elden adjourned
the hearing until briefs from the
defense and prosecution could
be received and studied. Yes-
terday he announced his deci-
sion. It was in favor of Priose-
cuting Attorney William • F.

Judge Elden strongly criti-
|cized the film, its content and
jthe persons who produced j^

Citing a review of the filmlphallus, cir ' - and other
which called it "outrageous," acts of pci and sexual
the judge said that he concluded deviation," Juuyr Elden said.
that "... not only is the liimj The court's decision swept
outrageous but it tends to be a away defense testimony bv
smutty purveyance of filth and Robert A. Sklar, a 30-year-old
borders on the razor's edge of U.M history professor, who
[hard-core pornography." from the witness stand said the

He called the theme of thelfilm does not affront community
fim "... a transvestite orgy at [Standards and then defined the
its best . . ." and he noted that community as ". . . the Univer-
". . . prominently featured and sity community."

underlying the thread of the ^Iden said the question is not
film story is a "gang rape." ^ ^^^ effect ". . . on a cul-

The judge said "F 1 a m i n gitured university group . . . but
Creature" ". . . far exceeds rather on the nation as a
the customary limits of can- whole. . . ."

dor- • • •" I He said the film had not

"The court cannot and will "even a miLimal social value"
not believe that contemporary and cannot be called a "work
community standards will ac- of art."

cept the showing of films In support of his findings,
vividly portraying masturba-IJudge Elden quoted rulings by
it^fl^^, oral,^sexu^ty,^the, erect .the U. S. Supreme Court seven

times and referred frequently (ards the dominant theme of the|. . ." Further, the other threeithat because "Flaming Cre^
to Supreme Court opinions on^^316' '" as a ^ole ap- defendants identified themselves 'tures" was to be shown only*
obscenity in films. ^eals ' 1 ".'i-ient interests, as board members of the Cine-i^e -a legitimate emergency

One of those references to "This film falls outside the ma_ Guildlal_he time i- ; l existed" for the police. He said
high ?•'.- .inions came in a; range of expression protected by seizui-e and^P^y^J011, Staudenmaier waited until
citatio,, , .hief Justice Earl the First Amendment accord- lectmg pre-showing Publicity ^^ ^^ ^^ ^ ^
Warren who on June 12, 1967, in§ to the criteria set out in the tor the tilm, tne Judge said. ^^ "justice would be totally
ruled on a case involving "Flam-Roth case," Justice Warren said. He noted that the couris frustrated." He said the officer
ing Creatures" brought in New Judge Elden, in binding Miss "• • • unwilling to conclude that ^ ^ nooortunity for a legal
York. Frank, Miss Barkey, Barden ^e fllm would "ot arouse seg^ p^,, ,,^ ^ the issue of

"Under the standards set'and Cohen to Circuit Court to mems of the community . . . |obscu... ,, id when he witnessed
forth in Roth vs United States'stand trial, said it is clear the and he sald 1! ^uld arouse^g commission of a misde-
this film is not within the pro- tour defendant? '-•'r' n-ior knowl- young and impressionable mem-^3^ ^ ^g presence made a
tection of the First Amend-edge of the co; i the film "ers of the national commu-^g^^^g seizure of the film.
ment," Warren's opinion reads, before it was aii^wn. Such "^y- Judge Elden found that the
He said the criteria for a de- knowledge has been cited by "The film certainly, in ,>e University students and
termination is based on the ma- Supreme Court decisions in con- event, would sexually excite -in'. _,.nen "knowingly showed an
terial being utterly without so- "ection with the showing of a^arouse transvesfcites and homo-obscene motion picture." He or-
cial value whether it went sub-!^11^ said to be obscene, sexuals," Judge Elden said. ,dered the defendants to appear
stantially'beyon d customary; Elden noted that Cohen, who In conclusion the court re-ibefore Circuit Court Judge
limits of candor in representing identified himself as an assist- futed a detenu ^intention that|James R. Breakey Jr. (on Sept.
sexual manners and whether to ant manager of the Cinema the film wa^ seized by|15) to enter a plea. He said
the average person applying! Guild, ". . .volunteered the fact City p"lif•» dive Lt. Eu- they could remain free on their
.contemporary community stand-i that he had reviewed the film gem iaier. He noted personal 'izance. ^|