Jurors may talk dirty in Staunton porn case

At a hearing for pretrial motions in the obscenity trials of Rick Krial, owner of Staunton porn shop After Hours Video, and cashier Tinsley Embrey, Judge Thomas Wood denied the defense's request to use a written questionnaire during jury selection to cover the more blush-inducing elements of the case.

"We've found in the past that we get more candid responses this way," says Krial attorney Paul Cambria, whose past clients have included Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and shock rocker Marilyn Manson. "It also makes things go a lot faster, so we were just trying to make it easier for everyone."

Staunton Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Robertson didn't see Cambria's questionnaire purely as an issue of efficiency. "He's trying to find out the people who are against porn and get them to exclude themselves," he says. "If you're uncomfortable with this stuff, you're allowed to have that opinion. All you have to be able to do is be able to put it aside and follow the judge's instructions."

All was not lost for Cambria, however. Judge Wood ruled in favor of his motion to prohibit Robertson from mentioning that his co-prosecutor Matthew Buzzelli is an attorney from the Justice Department. Robertson, while respectful of the judge's ruling, says he takes it as a sign that the Cambria is worried. "He doesn't want the jury to know that the Justice Department is taking this kind of thing seriously," says Robertson.

Not that Robertson is taking the Buffalo-based obscenity lawyer seriously. "I've been reading [Cambria]'s trial transcripts," says Robertson. "I'm ready for him."

Still, Cambria insists he remains undaunted. "The Commonwealth is not going to curtail us from making our arguments," he says. "It's up to the jury to decide what's acceptable as adult entertainment to the average adult."

No matter how the trial turns out, Robertson says his fight against After Hours Video will not end with the gavel's final fall. In March, Wood allowed Robertson's motion to limit this first trial to the first four of the total 22 obscenity charges, all misdemeanors, and ruled that it's within Robertson's discretion to bring the rest of the charges, all felonies, in multiple, subsequent trials. "If there's a conviction in this misdemeanor trial, we'll move on to the felony charges," says Roberston. "We need to know what this community's standards are.

The trial begins Tuesday, August 12.
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2 comments

Waste of taxpayer time and money in my opinion. Anybody with an Internet connection can get all the porn they want, but I don't see anyone banning the Internet.

Is the store shut down in the meantime?

Good question, Dan1101. After Hours Video is still open and they tell me that they have no plans to shut down.

Thanks for reading,
Lindsay Barnes