CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – The New Hampshire Supreme Court has upheld a former court security officer’s prostitution conviction but it didn’t give a definitive answer on a broader legal question about the making of pornographic films.

Robert Theriault was a bailiff in Franklin District Court in 2005 when he allegedly approached a young couple and offered to pay them to have sex while he watched. Under the state’s prostitution law, it is illegal to pay someone to engage in sexual contact for the purpose of sexual gratification, but Theriault’s lawyers argued the law is so broad that it effectively outlaws the making of sexually explicit movies that otherwise are legal.

Appellate defender David Rothstein said the prostitution law illegally encompasses legal activity because under the law, a movie maker who derives sexual gratification from filming or viewing his film would be no different than Theriault.

Thomas Bocian of the attorney general’s office disagreed, saying the filmmaker’s motives must be considered in addition to the acts being filmed. He told the justices the law should remain and that disputes over the intent and motivation of filmmakers should be decided case by case.

On Friday, the court agreed.

“The possibility that (the law) might be applied in some unconstitutional manner is exceedingly slight,” the court said.

But the ruling may not be the court’s last word on the prostitution law because Theriault has a second appeal pending. In that case, he was convicted of offering to pay a couple to videotape them having sex, so unlike the first case in which he wanted to watch the couple, he actually had a video camera for filming the second couple.

The court has not yet said whether it will hear arguments on that case.



Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com

AP-ES-05-03-08 1228EDT


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