SF Gate — When a maximum-security state prisoner ordered a paperback novel that included one sexual encounter per chapter, some of them between humans and werewolves, a horrified warden blacklisted the book as obscene and tending to incite violence.
More than two years later, a state appeals court in San Francisco says it's time to lift the ban, observing that all the sex in the book is between consenting adults, of one species or another, and that "more graphic violence appears on television nightly."
The novel, "The Silver Crown" by Mathilde Madden, contains scenes of violence, but it does not advocate or promote violence and is less violent overall than several books that officials have approved for the library at Pelican Bay State Prison, said the First District Court of Appeal.
The court also said the book did not meet the legal definition of obscenity because it has some literary value - a standard specified by state law and a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling but evidently discarded by Pelican Bay officials in their rules and practices.
"The Legislature intended to allow prisoners to receive and read any material that does not qualify as obscene" under the Supreme Court's definition, the appellate court said in a 3-0 ruling Friday. That definition says a sexually explicit publication is obscene only if it lacks "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value." continue reading...