Chief 9th Circuit judge halts obscenity trial

Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, halted an obscenity trial on Wednesday after obscene materials were found on his family's web site.

Kozinski defended some of the material -- including sexually explicit images and videos -- as humorous and told the Above The Law blog that some of it was uploaded by his adult son without his knowledge. But he could face serious questions about his future on the bench.

"If this is true, this is unacceptable behavior for a federal court judge," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said in a statement quoted by The Los Angeles Times, which broke the story.

The 9th Circuit is the largest in the nation and covers nine western states, including California. It hears a significant number of Indian law cases and Native Hawaiian cases.

A cursory review of recent 9th Circuit opinions found one from 2002 in which Kozinski supported the right of an Indian inmate in California to artificially inseminate his wife. The dissent contained blunt language about the activities of inmates.

Kozinski, a Reagan nominee, is often mentioned as a potential pick to the U.S. Supreme Court

Get the Story:
Judge suspends L.A. obscenity trial after conceding his website had sexual images (The Los Angeles Times 6/12)
Judge Assailed Over Sexually Explicit Images on Web Site (The Washington Post 6/12)