Although Movie Buffs general manager Larry Warren Peterman isn't conceding conviction on distributing porn-og-raph-y charges, his attorney hinted Friday that the deck is stacked against Peterman in 4th District Judge Lynn W. Davis' court-room.
Peterman is charged with 15 counts of distributing pornography, a class A misdemeanor. The nine-person jury that will decide Peterman's fate watched 15 sexually explicit videos during the past week but heard almost no case at all from the defense.Defense attorney Jerry Mooney had planned to call six witnesses, show several hard-core pornographic movies and develop a conspiracy theory as part of his case. But circumstances shot the case full of holes, and Mooney insinuated Friday that Movie Buffs probably would lose the case and take it to a higher court on appeal.
Mooney submitted three X-rated films - the hard-core versions that Movie Buffs doesn't carry - to Davis as evidence in the case, even though the jury won't be allowed to watch those movies. Mooney said the movies could be useful during an appeal.
The attorney appeared flustered that Davis wouldn't allow the jury to see the three hard-core films, which Mooney argued would make it easier for jurors to determine Utah County's definition of pornography. He also found it curious that Davis didn't allow testimony from a University of Utah psychologist about the sexual acts depicted in the films, and that several times during questioning of his own witnesses he was forbidden from delving into certain topics.
"I feel kind of like the Jazz in Game 6 (of the NBA Finals) - we're not getting any breaks," Mooney said. "That happens some-times.
"The judge has to call them like he sees them - just like the ref-er-ees."
After the prosecution rested its case Friday morning, the only witnesses called to the stand by the defense were two Movie Buffs employees and a Salt Lake videotape distributor not connected to the store. Their testimony appeared to establish very little, however, as several objections by prosecutors were sustained by Davis.
Although he failed in his bid to show the X-rated films, Mooney did succeed in persuading Davis to allow the jury to watch "Predator," the violent action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mooney said the purpose was to show jurors that the amount of dialogue in a movie doesn't determine the kind of movie it is.
Movie Buffs employee Daniel Cramer testified that he timed the dialogue in "Predator" at 25 percent of its running time of 107 minutes. The remainder of the movie consisted of Schwarzenegger stomping through the jungle and shooting at people and things with an automatic rifle.
Prosecutors earlier had solicited testimony from a Utah County Sheriff's detective about the number of minutes spent in dialogue versu s sex in each of the 15 allegedly pornographic videos from Movie Buffs. Mooney said the amount of dialogue in some of those films was about the same as that in "Predator."
Attorneys spent several more hours Friday poring over instructions that Davis will deliver Tuesday morning to the nine Utah County residents who comprise the jury. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys see the jury instructions as a key to winning the case.
After receiving instructions Tuesday morning, the jury will listen to closing arguments by both sides before going into deliberations. The verdict is expected to come sometime Tuesday.