I have worked with the Department of Justice for a number of years providing instruction to federal prosecutors in the area of obscenity prosecutions. And I can tell you the commitment exhibited during the tenure of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is being continued with the current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The Department of Justice reports that in the past four years 40 people and businesses have been convicted and 20 additional indictments are pending - compared to just four such prosecutions during the 8 years of the Clinton administration.
Like General Ashcroft, Attorney General Gonzales has pledged to make obscenity prosecutions a priority. The commitment is evident as the DOJ is expected to announce soon, according to news reports, the creation of a special unit within its criminal division to focus on adult obscenity cases.
In recent remarks to federal prosecutors, General Gonzales has said: "Enforcement is absolutely necessary if we are going to protect citizens from unwanted exposure to obscene materials." He directed U.S. attorneys to report back by late July on effective ways to crack down on obscenity and what tools the prosecutors might need.
This is an important area of the law and I am encouraged by the ongoing dedication and commitment by those in the Department of Justice to pursue these prosecutions and convictions.