ADDED: Bainbridge asks some questions that indicate that he finds this rather funny. I don't. But I have to agree with some of these questions:
Who stashes their porn on the internet? Other than porn stars?IN THE COMMENTS: Simon says:
Kozinski long has been regarded as one of the smartest guys on the federal bench. Do we need to rethink that?
One would think that so notoriously tech-savvy a judge would be more conversant with the technology - and more careful.One could deduce that he wanted to be caught ... or got a thrill from risking getting caught. You know, it might be tiresome for a certain sort of person to be a judge. There you are, for life. Well set up, but restricted, restrained, forced to be sober — forbidden to be fully expressive. Oddly, I had a conversation with Alex Kozinski about exactly this subject 20 years ago. Kozinski was only 35 years old when he was appointed, and that was 23 years ago.
ADDED: Patterico says he has the images referred to in the linked article, obtained from the L.A. Times reporter. If you go here, you will be able to read detailed descriptions and click on links to see the images. I clicked on all the links except the one that would have required watching a video. I wonder why the L.A. Times published this article. Why humiliate this man? (I am reminded of this story of unnecessary humiliation from a couple months ago.) What made it news? Is the porn collection of every public figure newsworthy? Or is it special treatment for conservative judges? (I'm thinking of this precedent.)
These are pictures of naked people, all of them funny or interesting in some way, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look at them and to show them to other adults. The photograph of the women painted as cows is just silly — nothing to be horrified by. Yes, you can see genitalia in these pictures. It's extremely common to want to look at genitalia. It doesn't do anything for me, but I understand the strong interest many men have in such views — repetitive and predictable though they are. (The transvestite slide show is a little unpredictable, but within an utterly predictable range.)
Now, it should be noted that Kozinski is currently serving as the trial judge in an obscenity case, so there is a special motivation here. One might object to the prosecution of Ira Isaacs. Maybe the government shouldn't be prosecuting such cases, and one might think that it is hypocritical or at least relevant that the judge in the case has his own pornography. I think that is absurd. The judge doesn't make the decision to prosecute, and the sort of material at issue in an obscenity case is quite extreme — far beyond the sort of pictures that we ought to assume many judges and jurors possess.
[Kozinski's] involvement in the case may be a stroke of luck for Isaacs. That is because Kozinski is seen as a staunch defender of free speech. When he learned that there were filters banning pornography and other materials from computers in the appeals court's Pasadena offices, he led a successful effort to have the filters removed....I'd like to know what set of events led to the L.A. Times article.
Isaacs said he would testify as his own expert witness at trial and planned to lecture jurors on how perceptions of art have changed over the years. There was a time, he said, when the works of authors James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence were called obscene.
The point, Isaacs said, "is do we really want to throw artists in jail in America?"...
[The Obscenity Prosecution Task Force] has won convictions in more than a dozen cases, the vast majority resulting from plea bargains....
[Isaacs] said that prosecutors have made several overtures inviting him to take a plea in the case, but that he has refused every time....
"If I get convicted and go to prison now," Isaacs said, "I go as an artist."
Does the prosecution or the defense have more to gain from the revelation?
AND: The NYT offers more background:
In a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Kozinski ... said the Web site was meant to be private and that several people had contributed to it. “There is a ton of stuff on there,” Judge Kozinski said. “It’s not a porn site. There’s some funny stuff on there.”Oh, well, if he doesn't think it's embarrassing, then maybe I shouldn't be critical of the press for publicly humiliating him.
Judge Kozinski said his son, Yale, maintained the site, which had the domain name of kozinski.com. Yale Kozinski, a film editor, confirmed that, as do Internet registry records for the site.
“This server is my private Web server,” Yale Kozinski said. “It’s owned by me. The domain is registered to me. The people who have access to put files up there are friends and family.” Among other things, he said, the site contained family photos and a collection of the judge’s articles.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Judge Kozinski had conceded posting some of the offensive materials. In interviews on Wednesday, neither Judge Kozinski nor his son could say who posted what, and Judge Kozinski said he might have uploaded some materials by mistake.
The site was never meant to be public, Yale Kozinski said. “The fact that it was publicly accessible actually is my fault, too,” he said. “I made a mistake in configuring it.”
Judge Kozinski said he was only moderately contrite.
“I guess I should be more careful about access and all,” he said. “I didn’t put anything on there I think would be embarrassing.”
UPDATE: How Appealing has info on the tipster, Cyrus Sanai, who emails (boldface added):
I discovered this information on Xmas Eve, 2007. * * * * I immediately downloaded so much material that his internet provider cut him off. When the site went back up, Judge Kozinski had removed some of the biggest video files. * * * * I pitched it to the Daily Journal, the Recorder, the LA Times and the WSJ through end of January 2008. I was interested in his site because of my renewed misconduct complaint against Judge Kozinski...The NY Sun has this:
The LA Times reporter I contacted, Henry Weinstein (who extensively covered the Manuel Real stuff) said he would get to it, then he took the buyout. I contacted Scott Glover, the reporter on the obscenity trial, last Sunday, June 8, 2008. He knew nothing about my prior contact with the LA Times; but that institution is in disarray because of the well-covered restructuring. Therefore, it would not be fair to say that the LA Times "held it". The institutional knowledge of my prior contact disappeared * * * *
The judge's trouble with Mr. Sanai began in 2005, when the attorney wrote an article with examples of 9th Circuit judges allegedly ignoring circuit precedents. Judge Kozinski wrote a rebuttal that noted Mr. Sanai's personal stake in one of the disputed issues. The attorney, who had a motion pending in that case, filed a complaint alleging that the judge broke rules barring judges from commenting or lobbying on pending cases. The complaint was dismissed, but Mr. Sanai refiled it after the judge re-posted the article on the same site with the explicit photos.Here's some analysis of the L.A. Times's journalism standards, from the Carnegie Reporting Program:
The key question is whether it would have been a story if Kozinski weren't presiding over an obscenity trial at the time...
I say yes. Kozinski is a high-ranking judge whose court hears more obscenity cases than the current one. Controversy over the line between erotica and obscenity is legal news, and Kozinski's misfortune provides a teaching moment to explore the current state of the law. Kozinski has a track record as a critic of government intrusion into personal use of the Internet. Publishing a story without the trial as a news hook would be extremely uncomfortable, but I would have green-lighted it and placed the revelations in the context of Kozinski's disputes with Sanai and over Internet use. As for the Times, there should be no question that it did the right thing under the circumstances.
AND: I got some of those links from Above the Law, which has lots of good discussion in the comments.