Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

V. James Strickler


Since the 1970's, obscenity cases in the US legal system have long been detennined by the three-part Miller test. Criminal convictions for obscenity have frequently been disputed due to the ambiguous nature contained within the three-part test, especially having the trier of fact apply "contemporary community standards." Technological advances and increasing homogeneity has added to the dubious nature of the test and some feel obscenity laws need revised, ifnot eliminated. Numerous suggestions have been made to improve the "intractable problem" ofdetennining what is obscene speech. This paper considers some of those possibilities and suggests commentary on others. One way of detennining community standards while maintaining a federalist court system is moving obscenity to the civil courts allowing individuals and communities to defme local differing standards.