Issue 62, Summer 1996
Two obscenity convictions of comic ‘zine creator Mike Diana were upheld by Florida Circuit Court Judge Douglas Baird, as he dismissed a third conviction for advertising obscene matter. Baird’s ruling declared that Diana’s homemade comic books, Boiled Angel 7 and Boiled Angel Ate, were designed to appeal to prurient sexual interests.
Diana, who was arrested after a Pinellas County, Florida deputy sheriff purchased one of his ‘zines through the mail, described to Florida Coalition Against Censorship conference participants last year the humiliating sentence he received for his drawings (CN 57). That included psychological evaluation, subjecting his art and personal papers to warrant less searches, participation in an ethics-in-journalism class, and three years’ probation during which time he is to avoid minors.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has so far absorbed Diana’s $56,000 legal expenses. In pledging to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, its Executive Director Susan Alston said, “It’s a small price to pay to keep our First Amendment rights.”