LOS ANGELES — Ira Isaacs' attorney re-filed a motion yesterday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the fetish filmmaker to remain free pending his appeal.
Isaacs, who was stayed a surrender date in February after his conviction on obscenity charges, was ordered last Friday to report to the U.S. Marshal Service today to begin four years of incarceration.
It is the second time that Isaacs had been given a surrender date and a second time that his convictions and sentencing have been challenged since he was sentenced in January.
Isaacs was found guilty in April 2012 on five counts of violating federal obscenity laws over the mail distribution of "Mako’s First Time Scat, " "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #7," "Hollywood Scat Amateurs #10" and "Japanese Doggie 3 Way."
U.S. District Judge George King made the decision to order Isaacs to report to prison last week after analysis of a federal rule that controls the release of a defendant pending his appeal.
"King made his decision to order Isaacs to prison because of the issue that he's not likely to win his appeal" at the 9th Circuit, Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond told XBIZ.
Diamond said that the federal rule also takes in consideration whether the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community. But King in his order last week said that Isaacs doesn't pose those problems.
With yesterday's filing at the 9th Circuit, Diamond said that Isaacs will remain free until a two-judge panel weighs merits of the appeal, despite King's order that Isaacs report today to federal prison.
"No action is needed by the court; it is by rule," Diamond said. "Our goal is to keep him out of prison during his appeal."
Diamond said in the court brief filed yesterday with the 9th Circuit that King "erroneously minimized" the importance of four issues that were presented during trial.
"The issues to be presented on appeal by Isaacs are not trivial or insignificant," Diamond wrote. "They relate to the ability of the defendant to present expert testimony on the issue of obscenity. They relate to the defendant’s ability to testify on his own behalf. They relate to the ability of his attorney to present a coherent closing argument without interruption by the district court and without improper limitation.
"Finally, Isaacs intends to present on appeal the issues of the definition of an essential element of the obscenity standard and whether the court can change the definition after closing argument and instructions. These are major issues going to likelihood of reversal."
Isaacs told XBIZ on Friday that he again was "mentally ready" to surrender to authorities prior to Diamond's appeal to the 9th Circuit yesterday, but that he is emotionally drained.
"As good as this feels [to be free], I'm tired of going on the merry-go-round," Isaacs said. "Now I'm back to where I was before ... a political prisoner."
"But I think we have a good chance on appeal," he said.
Diamond said he couldn't predict when the 9th Circuit will rule on yesterday's motion.