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Jacobellis v. Ohio

Significance, Defining Obscenity, Other Opinions: "i Know It When I See It", Consequences Of Jacobellis


Nico Jacobellis


State of Ohio

Appellant's Claim

That under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, he should not have been punished for showing The Lovers, a film deemed obscene under Ohio State law.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

John T. Corrigan

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Ephraim London

Justices for the Court

Hugo Lafayette Black, William J. Brennan, Jr. (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, Arthur Goldberg, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Tom C. Clark, John Marshall Harlan II, Earl Warren


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

22 June 1964


The film was not obscene and Jacobellis' conviction should be overturned.

Related Cases

  • Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957).
  • Kingsley Pictures Corp. v. Regents of the University of the State of New York, 360 U.S. 684 (1959).
  • Manual Enterprises, Inc., v. Day, 370 U.S. 478 (1962).
  • Bantam Books Inc. v. Sullivan, 372 U.S. 58 (1963).
  • Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).
  • Jenkins v. Georgia, 418 U.S. 153 (1974).


Grazia, Edward de and Roger K. Newman. Banned Films: Movies, Censors and the First Amendment. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1982.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972