June 11, 2008

"I think it's odd and interesting. It's part of life."

Comments?

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?

Kozinski long has been regarded as one of the smartest guys on the federal bench. Do we need to rethink that?
IN THE COMMENTS: Simon says:
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....

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."
I'd like to know what set of events led to the L.A. Times article.

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.”

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.”
Oh, well, if he doesn't think it's embarrassing, then maybe I shouldn't be critical of the press for publicly humiliating him.

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 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 NY Sun has this:
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.

52 comments:

Simon said...

One would think that so notoriously tech-savvy a judge would be more conversant with the technology - and more careful.

Whole said...

Well, there are always less exciting explanations.

http://abovethelaw.com/2008/06/judge_of_the_day_alex_kozinski.php

Which whether they excuse the failure of judgement or not, indeed whether they are accurate or not, will certainly be ignored in the interest of a good story. :)

Mrs. Forsythia Grunsfelder said...

There are several law students in my daughter's ConLaw class who look at Internet porn while the professor is lecturing.

This professor refuses to ban laptops in the classroom, and of course, the First Amendment means you can't tell students what sites they can and can't access during a lecture...if you are going allow laptops.

By the way the students accessing porn on their laptops aren't sitting in the back row....they are right up front, and brazen.

I know, I know---it's the Professor's fault for not, somehow, managing to make Marbury-Madison just as exacting as hardcore porn....

Chet said...

"The judge said he planned to delete some of the most objectionable material from his site, including the photo depicting women as cows,"

"He also said he planned to get rid of a graphic step-by-step pictorial in which a woman is seen shaving her pubic hair."


"Among the sexually explicit material on his site that he defended as humorous were two photos. In one, a young man is bent over in a chair and performing fellatio on himself. In the other, two women are sitting in what appears to be a cafe with their skirts hiked up to reveal their pubic hair and genitalia."

"Among the images on the site were a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal."

"The sexually explicit material on the site was extensive, including images of masturbation, public sex and contortionist sex. There was a slide show striptease featuring a transsexual, and a folder that contained a series of photos of women's crotches in snug-fitting clothing or underwear. "

""People send me stuff like this all the time,"" he said."

"In turn, he said, he occasionally passes on items he finds interesting or funny to others."

Mortimer Brezny said...

Why no link to the cow pictures?

http://patterico.com/2008/06/11/kozinskis-porn-stash-revealed/

George said...

Yes, but is he Scarlett Johanssen's e-mail buddy?

rhhardin said...

Cartoon, two bulls overlooking a herd of cows : ``Actually I'm a leg man myself.''

AllenS said...

Cartoon, two bulls overlooking a herd of cows : "Look at all the teats."

Palladian said...

"Bainbridge asks some questions that indicate that he finds this rather funny. I don't."

That's not funny!

Pogo said...

including the photo depicting women as cows
Oh boy. More outtakes of Rosie O'Donnell in Exit to Eden.

But seriously...
Funny? This story is a higher level of guy-slips-on-a-banana-peel. Somewhat higher. Barely.
It turns grown men into sixth graders.

But seriously,...
אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבֹּורִים וַיֹּאבְדוּ כְּלֵי מִלְחָמָה׃ פ
"How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

knoxwhirled said...

One could deduce that he wanted to be caught ... or got a thrill from risking getting caught.

It has to be this. If not, he needs to be given the boot for sheer stupidity

Oh please said...

Come on, Althouse!

Any chance to tag and discuss "bodily fluids" or "genilatia" and you're the first one to relish the moment.

I'm guessing you don't want the judge to get all the attention.

Or maybe that bovine thing hits too close to home.

Lighten up.

Pogo said...

During parties, the writer Jerzy Kozinski used to hide himself by lying stretched out under the cushions in an overstuffed couch.

Judge Kozinski might try that.

Bissage said...

IM ON UR BENCH


DREEMIN OF COWZ

Chip Ahoy said...

The phrase 'sober as a judge' resonates with the American public

ORLY? Resonates, like "thud." And then,"People send me stuff like this all the time." See? Other people. In turn, he said, he occasionally passes on items he finds interesting or funny to others.

That line brimming with good humor brings me 'round again to the previous saddening thread about Hobie and Stacey and Ferrell and Allen. In the comments George likes Annie Hall, "I've been trying to do to my girlfriend what Eisenhower has been doing to the nation for eight years." That exact same thing happened to me. Exactly! 'Cep't differ'nt. Oh no, here comes the gloom again. The thing is the woman told me up front who she was on the first conversation of our first date. Not as Hobie does, but by ticking off in rapid succession every single Liberal grievance, perceived and actual, in rapid succession as a single paragraph without allowing for conversation. It didn't fit. That's why I had no interest straight off. It dissolved as I was meeting her. When things developed anyway even without my interest it only became worse. Her reaction to my genuinely funny apolitical creations was never appropriate. She refused to acknowledge I even possessed a trace of creativity, however meager, less so its funniness. Conversely, she'd forward utterly unfunny comics of the sort described by the judge here and by George's favorite joke in Annie Hall, a couple in costume on "make-up night" dressed as Laura and George Bush prepared for violent sex. That was the only thing amusing to her. It was the one single way she could process Republican affiliation. She was trying to connect by forwarding it. The joke that appealed to her, that she didn't draw herself, just latched onto and forwarded, said more about her than it did about Bush. But I'm ever hopeful to the point of being stupid. Later I asked her was she not bothered by living in a liberal city within a conservative state, one that would for certain vote Republican. I honestly don't know what made me think in that moment that anything other than a perfectly non sequitur screed could follow, so I have only myself to blame for it. That was the last time I tried anything at all like a conversation with her. She still calls, but the discomfort I feel with her is permanent. It's been too much trouble Xing out socially depressing personalities, so damaging to a sweet and gentle psyche, and so unfluffy however heroically good and saintly otherwise, to allow any new ones in.

Apologies for connecting these two threads like this but in my mind their own content connects themselves automatically. I have opposite reactions to both items, one funny as hell, the other just hell.

bearbee said...

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.

Yes, life is tough. You get every day, go to work, listen to the boss rag on you while ignoring your talents and finer qualities, come home. I guess I could become a stripper.
Why doesn't the judge take up painting,... or photography or marry a 22 year old supermodel like any normal 57 year old.

If COWZ could dreem would they dreem of Cowzzzzinski?

Even Chagall had his dreemz

mcg said...

People send me stuff like this all the time.

This is supposed to mollify us how, exactly? Nobody sends me stuff like this, ever. What kind of company does this man keep? Granted, it shouldn't be any of our business, but that genie's out of the bottle now, thanks to him and/or his son.

George said...

His career as a judge is over. He must resign.

Smilin' Jack said...

...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....

Gosh, I hope this episode doesn't lead anyone to think that he might have been motivated by anything other than disinterested concern for the First Amendment. No one should suspect that he spends his time in the office downloading porn--really, it was all sent to him by "other people."

"The judge said he planned to delete some of the most objectionable material from his site, including the photo depicting women as cows,"

For Heaven's sake, why? Nothing promotes family values more than sharing cow porn.

AllenS said...

Cartoon, two bulls overlooking Oh Please: "Look at the boob."

Bissage said...

Is Judge Kozinski going to have to wear a scarlet “P” on his judicial gown?

P. Rich said...

LA Times. NYT chimes in. BFD. Where are all the birdcages when you need them?

Palladian said...

He has a son named "Yale"? Is Yale's brother named Harvard? Does he have a sister named Bryn Mawr?

Pogo said...

Yes, and what a heifer.

former law student said...

Perhaps such things shock the delicately nurtured. When I started working there was always one older guy who would collect and pass on weird xeroxed sheets, like the Polish pistol, or the suit brought by a woman for despoiling a piece of property she owned (in his defense, the male defendant asserted he had improved the property in question by erecting a pump, and decorating it with two stones). Berkeley folklorist Alan Dundes published several collections of such material, beginning with Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire. Technological advances have merely improved the quality and speed of transmission of such material.

I laughed my butt off at the stained glass window, by the way. While I haven't clicked on everything, I suspect the most heinous thing Judge Kozinski did was name his son Yale.

Bissage said...

Someone in real life named Yale? I thought that was just in the movies.

XWL said...

My only thought on reading the LAT article, 'get that fella on the Supreme Court, now!'.

We need more like him, people who are people, flawed, profane, thoughtful, and principled.

(he should be McCain's second appointment, after Janice Rogers Brown)

Let he who has no porn on his computer throw the first stone at Judge Kozinski.

(still was stupid to store it on the web, but no worse than emailing that crap to people on your list, and anyone who's been in an office has probably had some 'interesting' stuff emailed to them over the years)

Besides, as was pointed out to me just the other day. . .

bearbee said...

Seriously ..... all joking aside

TROBlog said...

Why is this a story again?

former law student said...

The LA Times was apparently tipped off by one Cyrus Sanai, who was publicly taken to the woodshed by Judge Kozinski in an exchange published in the Recorder, back in 2005. To me it looks like revenge:

http://pda-appellateblog.blogspot.com/2005_09_01_pda-appellateblog_archive.html#112752283616670674

downtownlad said...

Who cares. I want to know what kind of countertops he has.

Trooper York said...

Well what about the picture of Warren Rudman fucking a goat that David Souter has on his computer. How the hell did you think he got on the court for crying out loud?

Pogo said...

That's my wallpaper, Trooper.

I just happen to like goats.
NTTAWWT.

Trooper York said...

Yeah Pogo, but that goat was underage and that makes it kiddie porn.

TROBlog said...

Bleeeettttttt.

Revenant said...

I don't see the conflict of interest, unless it was illegal porn. We don't exclude judges from bank fraud cases upon learning they have bank accounts, so why would we exclude judges from obscenity trials just because they have porn?

Trooper York said...

Two goats standing on a hill over looking a graveyard. "Thank god Yasser Arafat is dead. My ass is still sore."

William said...

With the passage of time one ends up living not in a different era but in a different dimension than the rest of the world. Do people really share porn with their children? ...In the golden age of repression, respectable citizens used to sublimate their sexual energies into artistic pursuits. Now it is just the reverse: the energy that the judge should be channeling into, say, taking pictures of flower buds is spent collecting porn pictures.

Trooper York said...

Two goats standing on a hill over looking a graveyard. "Who is this guy Pogo I saw buying you drinks last night?"

Revenant said...

Now it is just the reverse: the energy that the judge should be channeling into, say, taking pictures of flower buds is spent collecting porn pictures.

I'm not sure how to break this to you, but it doesn't exactly take a lot of energy to "collect" porn on the Internet. Heck, you don't even need to be at your computer to do it. In many cases you need mail filters to AVOID collecting porn.

But in any case, guys have been sharing dirty jokes and pictures with each other since Roman times at least -- and I suspect a lot of those prehistoric cave paintings of huge-breasted women weren't really for "religious purposes", either.

Pogo said...

"That was no guy, that was my sire."

Baa-aaa-aaaah.

former law student said...

Links to 14 songs -- ranging from Tom Lehrer's Hannukah in Santa Monica to Mickey Katz's Sixteen Tons -- on alex.kozinski.com were added to the data base of an MP3 search engine 2007-12-01. Wasn't December 2007 the month that LA Times' tipster Cyrus Sanai tipped off the LA Times? How lucky for the tipster that these songs were added to the search engine's data base at the beginning of the month.

http://www.mp3int.com/mp3_search.php?sid=431736

former law student said...

Another stroke of luck for the LA Times tipster: Mickey Katz's Sixteen Tons was added to the mp3-center.org data base 2007-12-02:

http://www.mp3-center.org/search_mp3/Key//2

Mickey Katz, � - Sixteen Tons mp3
67 downloads from alex.kozinski.com
Provided by: Free Music Downloads 2007-12-02

Palladian said...

I just looked at some of the "shocking" material over at Patterico and, um, this is the most ridiculous, nonsense story I've seen in a long time. Some sleaze bag lawyer who Judge Kozinski raked over the coals had a hard-on to dig up some dirt on the Judge and found this pathetic nonsense. The "video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal" is this classic internet clip of a man being chased by a randy donkey.

This story proves that Judge Kozinski is, shockingly! a normal human being with a ribald and prurient side to him. Stop the presses!

I wonder what sorts of things are on the computers and file storage devices of LA Times staff?

XWL said...

Do people really share porn with their children?

Why not share porn with your father for Father's Day!

I recommend this book of 3D nudes taken by Harold Lloyd.

(the 'porn' on that database wasn't any worse than the 'porn' in the Lloyd book)

(and I would give it to my dad for Father's Day, but I already gave it to him for his birthday)

From a legal standpoint, I think the MP3s might be much more problematic, the RIAA are crazy, litigating, jerks.

Duscany said...

Kozinski is a good guy, really smart, with a good attitude toward life and the law. I suspect he thinks our hysteria over porn is a little bit silly. Still he should have known that little people with small minds would use something like this against him. I hope he doesn't do anything rash, like resign. He should tell his critics to go pound sand.

ErnieG said...

This reminds me of the old joke about the scene in the Montana divorce court, where the wife describes her shock at catching her husband en flagrante with a sheep. "And then," she sobbed, "it turned its head around and kissed him on the lips."

The judge said, "Well, ma'am, a good sheep will do that."

Peter Blogdanovich said...

Boy, if you want to get someone in America, the answer really is find a sex angle and use it against them.

Two bulls looking at a field of cows. "Well, let's go back to the barn and slip into a warm jersey".

Revenant said...

I just looked at some of the "shocking" material over at Patterico and, um, this is the most ridiculous, nonsense story I've seen in a long time.

Yep, I have to agree. What's worse is that the reporters had to have known this is nothing significant -- there's crazier stuff than this in the typical raunchy comedy.

Thankfully, it looks like Kozinski is blowing them off.

Seneca the Younger said...

Thankfully, it looks like Kozinski is blowing them off.

Oh, you really should be ashamed of yourself.

*snicker*

TitusEverythingsComingUpRoses said...

Because he was a Reagan appointment I think this is a boring story and everyone should move along.

If this was a democratic appointment we would all be outraged and want him off the bench. I think we can all agree on that.

Ben Coates said...

Why are people calling this stuff "porn"? It's not porn. Porn is pictures of people having sex that people buy to arouse themselves.

These pictures are what we call "jokes" or "humor". One of the easier (some would say lazier) ways to get a laugh is to include an element of some taboo that makes people uncomfortable. This should not be news to anyone.

Most of these pictures are old Internet meme images i've seen before, blue-comedy versions of lolcats that were passed around college campus shares and e-mailed between co-workers in the 90's before most HR departments got crazy about the whole hostile-work-environment aspects of the Internet.

Frankly I'm surprised the famous cartoon of a caterpillar humping a crinkle-cut fry featured in a Drew Carrey Show episode about workplace sexual harrasement paranoia wasn't included.

And the movie that the LA times describes as "video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal." was originally aired on broadcast television (FOX, i imagine) on one of those world's somethingiest animal-bloopers shows, although the mosaic filter over certain parts of the animal may not be present in the internet version.

Bottom line: Judge Alex Kozinski isn't collecting extreme fetish porn, he's collecting juvenile internet jokes. Put down the pitchforks.