TITLE 11
Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 11-31
Obscene and Objectionable Publications and Shows

SECTION 11-31-1


§ 11-31-1 Circulation of obscene publications and shows.

(a) Every person who willfully or knowingly promotes for the purpose of commercial gain within the community any show, motion picture, performance, photograph, book, magazine, or other material which is obscene shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, or both.

(b) For the purpose of this section:

(1) In determining whether or not a show, motion picture, performance, photograph, book, magazine, or other material is obscene the trier of the fact must find:

(i) That the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;

(ii) That the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by this chapter; and

(iii) That the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

(2) "Community standards" means the geographical area of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

(3) "Knowingly" means having knowledge of the character and content of the material or failure on notice to exercise reasonable inspection which would disclose the content and character of it.

(4) "Material" means anything tangible which is capable of being used or adapted to arouse prurient interest through the medium of reading, or observation.

(5) "Patently offensive" means so offensive on its face as to affront current standards of decency.

(6) "Performance" means any play, motion picture, dance, or other exhibition performed before an audience.

(7) "Promote" means to manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do it for resale.

(8) "Sexual conduct" means:

(i) An act of sexual intercourse, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including genital-genital, anal-genital, or oral-genital intercourse, whether between human beings or between a human being and an animal.

(ii) Sado-masochistic abuse, meaning flagellation or torture by or upon a person in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or gratification.

(iii) Masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibitions of the genitals.

(9) "Standards of decency" means community standards of decency.

(c) If any of the depictions and descriptions of sexual conduct described in this section are declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawfully included because the depictions or descriptions are constitutionally protected or for any other reason, that declaration shall not invalidate this chapter as to other sexual conduct included in this chapter.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 218, § 2; P.L. 1979, ch. 406, § 1.)