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Public Indecency - Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor

by Frank Svetlik

The Texas Penal Code Section 43.24(b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) provides the definition of the crime of Public Indecency - Sale, Distribution, or Display of Harmful Material to Minor.

Texas has made the sale of pornography to children, a class A misdemeanor unless the person displaying or selling the pornographic materials, employees, or uses a minor to assist in displaying or selling the pornographic materials. A third-degree felony is punishable in Texas by imprisonment for 2 to 10 years. A class a misdemeanor is punishable in taxes by confinement in the county jail for up to two years. Of course other monetary fines may be applicable.

This statute is directed toward the protection of persons of tender years. The requirement that no of scene materials can be displayed or distributed to children under 18 years of age is specifically set forth in this law. Two affirmative defenses are provided. If the accused is a spouse of the minor at the time of the offense he or she may not be prosecuted. A somewhat more amorphous affirmative defenses provided for a person having scientific, educational, governmental, or similar justification.

The Law:

PENAL CODE

TITLE 9. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER AND DECENCY

CHAPTER 43. PUBLIC INDECENCY

Sec. 43.24. SALE, DISTRIBUTION, OR DISPLAY OF HARMFUL MATERIAL TO MINOR.

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Minor" means an individual younger than 18 years.

(2) "Harmful material" means material whose dominant theme taken as a whole:

(A) appeals to the prurient interest of a minor, in sex, nudity, or excretion;

(B) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors; and

(C) is utterly without redeeming social value for minors.

(b) A person commits an offense if, knowing that the material is harmful:

(1) and knowing the person is a minor, he sells, distributes, exhibits, or possesses for sale, distribution, or exhibition to a minor harmful material;

(2) he displays harmful material and is reckless about whether a minor is present who will be offended or alarmed by the display; or

(3) he hires, employs, or uses a minor to do or accomplish or assist in doing or accomplishing any of the acts prohibited in Subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2).

(c) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the sale, distribution, or exhibition was by a person having scientific, educational, governmental, or other similar justification.

(c-1) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor was the spouse of the minor at the time of the offense.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless it is committed under Subsection (b)(3) in which event it is a felony of the third degree.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 497, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Law Office of Attorney Frank Svetlik

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