United States v. Buie

On July 11, 2017, a staff member at the Blue Ridge Branch of the MidContinent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri discovered that a library patron had printed visual images depicting whatshe believed to be a boy engaging in sexual acts with his mother. The staff member determined that the library card number associated with the print job belonged to Buie. On July 12, 2017, Federal Probation Officer Sandra Hille was notified about the July 11th incident at the library.
2 The following day, Officer Hille visited Buie at his residence. Buie consented to a search of his home, and Officer Hille found printouts of visual images on Buie’s kitchen table. The visual images, introduced at trial as Government’s Exhibit 3a, are detailed, full-color drawings of human beings, which Officer Hille described as depicting “minors engaging in sexual activity with adults” who “appear[] to be their parents.” R. Doc. 57, at 79

Based on the printed images recovered from his home, Buie was charged with one count of possession of child obscenity in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1466A(b)(1) and (d). Section 1466A(b)(1) prohibits a person from “knowingly possess[ing] a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that . . . (A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and (B) is obscene[.]” At trial, Buie moved for judgment of acquittal at the close of the government’s evidence and at the close of all evidence, arguing that § 1466A(b)(1) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague. The district court denied both motions. The jury convicted Buie and the district courtsentenced himto 121 monthsimprisonment and a life term of supervised release. Buie now appeals his conviction.


For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

So you can go to jail for 12 years for a single cartoon. Nice.

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The appeals court didn’t make a mistake here, because his fate was sealed once the jury found the images to be obscene. An appeals court will almost never overrule a jury’s decision on obscenity. So that’s why if you are charged with an obscenity offense, you need to mount your best defense at trial, rather than hoping to correct the decision on appeal. What he should have done (which the judgment actually says) was to present his evidence that art depicting incest has been recognized for its artistic value throughout history, and that it would be inconsistent to say that modern images are necessarily obscene just because they also artistically depict that subject.


I can’t believe this crappy law is still being enforced. 1466A is such rubbish. But why would you print this out in a fucking public library??? FFS. You could had saved us $500.000 tax payers in cost to incarcerate, easily another tens of thousands of “LiFETiMe” Supervision, and the cost of your freedom.

I would always recommend calling an art expert in a defense trial like this, but it hardly ever happens. The stigma against the depiction is so great that people just want to avoid talking about it at all, so that the jury spends the minimum time even thinking about it. The important point to make is that even if the jury thinks that the representation is obscene on its face (which is for them to determine), they also need to determine whether it is satisfies one of the exceptions to obscenity such as artistic merit, and that’s a question that expert evidence can help them with.


So I didn’t find this case on Wikipedia for some reason. Where can I find the total number of prosecutions for 1466a? I want to find out how many of those cases exist, furthermore, how many of 1466a prosecutions were the result of cartoons/cg3d art.

American prisons turn a profit with slave labor. Other countries don’t have slave labor in prisons, they also tend to have shorter sentences as they can’t just throw someone in on a whim. It is easy to be “tough on crime” when you don’t have to pay for it.

It is a very bad thing. Other countries are forced to actually tackle crime in creative ways rather than just lock people up and have lower crime rates conversely.


Yeah, I was wondering why didn’t his lawyer bring this up. Maybe 1466a prosecutions are so rare that there aren’t many decent lawyers that specialize in obscenity cases so there as a result not be many powerful lawyers in obscenity?

Either way, I’m still pissed off at the guy for printing them out IN PUBLIC. He’s basically harming me because I have to pay taxes for his imprisonment and his “SuPeRViSIOn”. Furthermore, he’s careless behavior means the feds are not prosecuting other cases which has actual victims such as child molestation.


How much of a chance do you believe someone would have in court if they hired the right defense attorney and made the right arguments?

This situation makes me sick to my stomach. I just want to feel safe and free to draw whatever I want, and want others to feel safe too.

Honestly, if it wasn’t the right kind of lawyer, yeah, they might not know the right arguments to make, arguing the vagueness of the law isn’t a terrible stance to try because it’s true, but the morality of the issue tends to win out because people overreact over fictional depictions of upsetting things which is why the law is written the way it is, and it’s completely possible things were rushed, or that even the lawyer had moral leanings that agreed with the jury, so they didn’t try as hard as they could to get a good outcome. They’re not suppose to do that, but they’re human too.

Finding someone with the guts to do that is hard because of the plea deals that prosecutors offer. Why would someone defend obscenity charges and run the risk of ending up with a sex offense conviction and a length jail sentence if they can cop a plea to something less? Juries hate sex crimes of any type. But I think with the right court and a good defense, it is a fight worth taking on.


Completely agree, it’s a fight I think that needs to happen so the law can be challenged enough it may eventually change.
What do you think is the best course of action artists can take to be safe in what we create? Or is it just too unsafe to create these types of art at all right now?

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I wouldn’t blame the victim for a government’s unreasonable actions.

That is wholly on the government, they are whom you should point your finger at.

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You wanna know what’s REALLY sad about this? This isn’t the first time someone wound up charged with this crime as a result of viewing/printing hentai in a public setting. IIRC, one other time it was a library, and in a different case it was… either the Department of Labor as a patron, or some government facility where they were employed. In both cases, like this one, they either had a record for child sexual offenses, or that was the reason for the investigation which led to the discovery of the fictional stuff (usually it’s #1).

The moral of the story is, don’t print out your shotacon at a fucking library- especially if you are on probation for a REAL child porn case. It makes you look like an impoverished simpleton who has no idea how to use a personal cell phone or laptop to save porn (or your own fantasies). As he was also a lawyer, I guess this also proves one can be a poor simpleton and still pass the bar exam. As he was disbarred for his first offense, he’s gonna be a lot poorer in his old age with no chance of a career. If the prisoners or Covid 19 don’t kill him first, anyway.

Do you know what is even better about charges like this or technical violations of probation or reporting requirements for the register (not reporting in every week)? It often gets counted towards the recidivism rate of sex crimes to “prove a point” about how there are dangerous sex offenders everywhere. This in turn is used as justification for laws like this to keep the “dangerous sex offenders” in check.

They may have a new boogeyman now. Sars-Cov-2 infected victims coming to kill you and a buggy contact tracing app to detect this sinister threat.