U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA) issued the following statement in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing today on Stevens vs. the United States. The case involves Robert Stevens, who is appealing his conviction for violating a law Gallegly authored that criminalizes the interstate sale of depictions in which "a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed, if such conduct is illegal under Federal law or the law of the State in which the creation, sale, or possession takes place."
"No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules," Gallegly said, "the hearing today was significant for two reasons:
"One, the justices decided to hear the case. Obviously, the justices saw something in the case beyond First Amendment protections, or they would not have heard the case.
"Two, the case has heightened the issue in America's consciousness. More Americans are now aware that people are creating and distributing these barbaric videos and are angry about it.
"From the beginning I have said my bill was about law enforcement. From the beginning I have cited studies that show that the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world--the Albert Boston Strangler' DeSalvos, Ted Bundys, David Son of Sam' Berkowitzes and Ted Unabomber' Kaczynskis--began their killing sprees by cruelly inflicting pain on animals.
"You are not allowed to cry fire' in a theater; you are not allowed to possess or distribute child pornography. You shouldn't be able to create and distribute videos that glorify the senseless killing of defenseless animals.
"On Stevens' contention that his sentence was longer than Michael Vick's:
"I authored a law to increase penalties for the specific acts of animal fighting that went into effect after Vick's arrest. That law, had it been in effect when Vick was arrested, would have given Vick a substantially longer prison sentence for his despicable acts. Likewise, had Stevens made his videos before my animal cruelty bill was signed into law, he would have gotten off scot-free. Stevens shouldn't be set free now because his timing was worse than Michael Vick's.
"Also, I note that no one has been prosecuted for distributing hunting videos under my law. If they were, I would be among those advocating for their convictions to be overturned.
"The justices will rule in the coming months. I am hopeful they will side with the 26 state attorneys general and uphold this law. I look forward to reading their ruling."