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Income Tax Fraud
"James Joyce would surely have been convicted for selling copies of the first edition of ULYSSES in Rockford, Illinois, even though there were a few readers in Paris who immediately recognized the value of his work."
Stevens on Joyce
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Ellis E. Neder, Jr.

v.

United States
Income Tax Fraud

Justice Stevens Concurrence
June 10, 1999
Seal Of The Supreme Court
Excerpt:

In Pope, we found constitutional error in the conviction of two attendants in an adult bookstore because the trial court had instructed the jury to answer the question whether certain magazines lacked "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" by applying the community standards that prevailed in Illinois. As the history of many of our now-valued works of art demonstrates, this error would have permitted the jury to resolve the issue against the defendants based on their appraisal of the views of the majority of Illinois' citizens despite the fact that under a proper instruction the jury would have acquitted if they thought a more discerning minority would have found true artistic value in the publications.

Indeed, under the instruction given to the jury in that case, James Joyce would surely have been convicted for selling copies of the first edition of ULYSSES in Rockford, Illinois, even though there were a few readers in Paris who immediately recognized the value of his work. The Pope Court's conclusion that the unconstitutional instruction might have been harmless entirely ignored the danger that individual distaste for sexually explicit materials may subconsciously influence a judge's evaluation of how a jury would decide a question that it did not actually resolve. It is, in fact, particularly distressing that all of my colleagues appear today to endorse Pope's harmless-error analysis.


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