Legal Principle at Issue
Did the portion of New York Penal Law that made it unlawful to knowingly sell minors nude photos and magazines that contain such photos violate the 1st and 14th Amendments?
Affirmed. Ginsberg’s conviction was upheld.
Ginsberg, who operated a stationery store and luncheonette, was convicted of selling “girlie” magazines to a 16-year-old boy in violation of the New York Penal Law, which made it unlawful “knowingly to sell … to a minor” under 17 “(a) any picture … which depicts nudity … and which is harmful to minors,” and “(b) any … magazine … which contains [such pictures] and which, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors.” Ginsberg challenged the law, and his conviction, as a violation of the 1st Amendment.
Importance of Case
Although the magazines were not obscene for adults, the state has a legitimate interest in the well-being of minors and thus could regulate the availability of sexual content to minors.