Home News Legal Matters The CBLDF needs your help!

The CBLDF needs your help!

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People, this is about all of us. And the fight is costly.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund urgently needs your help. This August, the long-running case of Georgia v. Gordon Lee will finally go to trial, with court costs expected to hit $20,000.

For nearly three years the Fund has defended Georgia retailer Gordon Lee, seeing him through multiple arraignments and procedures, and racking up $80,000 in legal bills. The charges stem from a Halloween 2004 incident in which Lee handed out, among other free comics, an anthology featuring an excerpt from the critically acclaimed graphic novel The Salon. The segment depicted a historically accurate meeting between 20th Century art icons Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, the latter depicted in the nude. It was a harmless sequence, no more explicit than the nudity displayed in the award winning Watchmen. Yet because the title found its way into the hands of a minor, Floyd County prosecutors hit Lee with two felony counts and five misdemeanors. The Fund eventually knocked out most of the charges, but must now defeat the two remaining misdemeanor counts of Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material, each carrying a penalty of up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.

The case is slated to go to trial the week of August 13. We urgently need your support in order to wage the best defense possible against these remaining charges, and that means raising the $20,000 that the trial is expected to cost. Here’s how you can help:

Make A Monetary Donation: Every dollar counts, so please visit the cbldf.org and make a tax-deductible contribution today. As a thank-you for making a donation of $30 or more, the Fund will give you a brand new t-shirt displaying the text of the First Amendment in the shape of an American flag. Show your commitment to free speech, and your support for this very important case.

Join The CBLDF: Now is the time to join or renew your membership in the Fund. Your member dollars provide the baseline of support that we need to perform our casework, and defend your right to buy whatever comics you wish. If you join now with a basic membership of $25 you will receive a CBLDF Member Card, featuring new Groo art by the one-and-only Sergio Aragones, as well as a subscription to our news publication Busted!, and special admission to CBLDF events across the country. If you join at a level of $100 or more, you will also receive one of the new First Amendment t-shirts.

Donate Original Art & Collectibles: With summer conventions upon us, the Fund needs original art, high-grade comics, and other collectible items to make the most of our summer auctions. Please e-mail cbldf1@gmail.com for more information about how to donate to our auctions, or with a description of your intended donation. If your donation is accepted for our summer auctions, you will receive a letter of acknowledgment and a 2007 membership. To ensure that your donation is received safely, please do not send physical items until accepted by the CBLDF.

With Gordon Lee’s freedom in the balance, the CBLDF needs everyone who values Free Expression in comic books to do his or her part to support this very important case. Please visit www.cbldf.org and make your contribution today.

Donations: http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/12/cat12.htm?479

Membership: http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/7/cat7.htm?945

Other Donations: cbldf1@gmail.com

  1. “People, this is about all of us.”

    No this about a retailer who didn’t have the sense enough to make sure he read what he was handing out to minors.

  2. I knew at least one jackass with no idea what he’s talking about would pipe up.

    I didn’t realize it would the first post.

  3. From a review of The Salon:

    The Salon” (St. Martin’s, $19.95) by Nick Bertozzi is an imaginative graphic novel set in Paris in 1907, in which Braque, Picasso, Gauguin and other luminaries of the art world try to solve a mystery involving a blue absinthe that lets its drinkers enter the worlds of paintings and a murderer who targets artists.

    It really sounds like to me that this was just a slip up, so won’t the courts just throw this out? How does that work?

  4. snoid, he made a mistake. He says he didn’t even know the book was in the stack. He also says he doesn’t know IF he actually handed it out or IF one of his employees handed it out. The story as told from the prosecutions point of view CHANGED after the initial charges, maybe it was even after the first court date.

    I have not seen the book involved, but I recall it being described as a drawing of the nude Picasso, not with an erection. I don’t see how that can be any different than the scene is the recent Spider-Man: Reign.

    After the fiasco with the Duke lacrosse players, aren’t you even a tiny bit able to see that there MIGHT be a problem with the prosecutor’s case?

  5. It was a slip up. The Mature Readers label was on the back of the book and a staff member didn’t see it. For normal people a sincere apology to the parents would clear things up, but this isn’t the case in Georgia. Considering Jail Time is a real possibility, this is a worthy cause.

  6. In my LJ I wrote about this and made an offer:

    http://kadymae.livejournal.com/406885.html

    If I get 40 emails (kadymae at operamail.com or kadymae at sequentialtart dot com) with proof of a minimum donation of $25 to the CBLDF, I will personally hand Charles Brownstein a cheque for $1000 at San Diego.

    (Feel free to repost the link to my LJ and this offer — except at The Engine. My post there about this offer was promptly deleted.)

  7. > It really sounds like to me that this was just a slip up, so won’t the courts
    > just throw this out? How does that work?

    On CBLDF.org site, you can catch up on the many and various court decisions involved in this case. It’s interesting reading, with several points were different charges were filed, refuted, amended, and so on. In any case, the courts isn’t gonna “just throw this out” without at least some advocate to argue why the court should, and that’s what the CBLDF is providing.

  8. I knew at least one jackass with no idea what he’s talking about would pipe up.

    I didn’t realize it would the second post.

  9. “snoid, he made a mistake. He says he didn’t even know the book was in the stack. He also says he doesn’t know IF he actually handed it out or IF one of his employees handed it out.”

    He sure did and that mistake was in our current climate, not making damn sure he knew what he or his employees were handing out to childern.

  10. I think Gordon Lee was wrong to give this book to a child. He doesn’t appear to believe he did anything wrong.

    I detect no regret or remorse coming from Lee over giving this book to a kid. He insists that the book is not obscene or harmful to a minor. Though I don’t know if it’s obscene, I have no doubt that this material is not suitable for children. I disagree with Lee when he states that it is similar to the beautiful paintings of the Sistine Chapel.

    Has he ever seen the Sistine Chapel?

    The book Lee gave the kid shows both female and male full frontal nudity. There is a reference to masturbation. In one panel, it appears that Pablo Picasso’s penis is erect. There seems to be a difference of opinion whether the penis is erect or not. I would argue that if it must be debated if a penis is erect or not, the book is not suitable for a child.

    Compounding the problem is that Lee was convicted of selling pornography in 1993.

    I honestly don’t understand just how his lawyers expect to defend his innocence in this case. The jury won’t be deciding if the law is valid or not, they will simply be decided if Lee broke that law. The jury has to consider only the facts of the case. Arguing the merits of the law in question is something that can be brought up in the appeals, not the actual criminal case in front of the jury.

  11. I’m 99% sure Gordon hasn’t spoken because his lawyers have told him not to. Public statements can end up being used against you, which drag out the court case and increases the lawyer bills.

    This was an accident and really, I strongly doubt any physical or psychological damage was done to the child. Gordon doesn’t deserve jail time for this and it’s a good thing CBLDF has taken on this case.

  12. But he has made public statements. He said that he was willing to apologize but argued that the book was neither harmful to children nor obscene and equated it to viewing the beautiful paintings of the Sistine Chapel. He also compared it to reading the Bible. It seems that he sees nothing wrong with giving the book to a child.

  13. “This was an accident and really, I strongly doubt any physical or psychological damage was done to the child. Gordon doesn’t deserve jail time for this and it’s a good thing CBLDF has taken on this case.”

    I have no doubt you are right. And no he doesn’t deserve jail time, however to frame this as a First Amendment case or to say that “People, this is about all of us.” is wrong. It’s about a retailer who didn’t do what he should have, read or at least look thru EVERYTHING he was giving away to children.

  14. “The jury has to consider only the facts of the case.”

    The power of jury nullification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification) says otherwise, even if judges say otherwise.

    “It is not only his right but also his duty… to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.” ~John Adams

    “It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy” ~John Jay (1st U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice)

  15. If his lawyers are going for jury nullification in this case, I think they are wasting their time and the CBLDF’s money. I don’t think they are going to find too many people in the jury pool that believe it’s ok to give a child a comic book that shows full frontal nudity. I don’t know where one could hope to go for jury nullification in this case, but Georgia wouldn’t be my first choice.

    If they try to base their defense on jury nullification, they put any subsequent appeals at risk. Considering that Lee has already has a past conviction of selling pornography, prison time looks to be a real possibility.

  16. I sincerely doubt any lawyer would go for jury nullification. In fact, I believe you are correct that the defense is not allowed to argue against the law during trial. Too few prospective jurors know about nullification, and the government wants to keep it that way.

    I was merely correcting your mistatement about what the jury “has to” do. :-)

    A mistake was made. But the prosecution’s overzealousness is a much larger mistake, one more dangerous to society.

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