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The Obscene Sculpture Trial in San Francisco
By Ephraim Margolin
My first criminal jury trial was for the Northern California American
Civil Liberties Union. It was 1964. I have long been, and I remain, a
First Amendment voluptuary. My friend Marshall Krause, then staff
counsel for the Northern California ACLU, invited me to co-try an
exciting case on the ACLU docket. We were friends. I chaired the legal
committee of Northern California ACLU and taught constitutional law in a
local law school. At the time, Marshall was a very seasoned senior
trial lawyer, having tried two jury trials. I was a trial virgin.
The case involved 11 “Kama Sutra” metal sculptures that were seized by
police from the Vorpal Art Gallery in the San Francisco North Beach
district. The sculptures were exhibited together with other religious
and abstract sculptures by Ron Boise, a relatively unknown promising
young sculptor. It was a one-man show with 50 pieces on exhibit. Four
months after the show opened, someone parked a car in front of the
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