California Court Refuses to Compel Porn Regulation - California Case Law
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California Court Refuses to Compel Porn Regulation

In 2003, the Supreme Court kicked government out of the bedroom in Lawrence v. Texas; now the California Court of Appeals has kicked itself off of the adult film set.

The court ruled last week in AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health that it would not compel a Los Angeles Department of Health officer to require adult film industry performers to wear condoms in the production of hardcore pornography and to obtain hepatitis B vaccinations.

In its initial petition, the Foundation alleged that the Los Angeles Health and Safety Code imposes a nondiscretionary duty on the department's health officer to take reasonable steps to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including those due to practices in the hardcore pornography industry. The department's health officer was allegedly aware of the prevalence of STDs in the adult film community - from April 2004 to March 2008, there were 2,847 STD infections diagnosed among 1,884 performers - and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of diseases during the production of pornography in Los Angeles, the "de facto capital of the hardcore pornography industry."

The court sided with the county, stating that it would not compel another branch of government to exercise its discretion in a particular manner. In its opinion, the court noted that the problem was not necessarily that the department had failed to act, but that the foundation believed that the department's actions were ineffective.

The department, however, could still promulgate rules to stem the spread of diseases in the industry. California courts will not regulate sex, but state and local governments can.

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