9th Circuit: Ira Isaacs to Remain Free Pending Appeal

Rhett Pardon

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court today granted Ira Isaacs' renewed motion for bail pending his appeal on obscenity convictions.

Isaacs, who was sentenced in January to four years in federal prison, so far had dodged incarceration after receiving an emergency stay from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today, a two-judge panel with the 9th Circuit said that Isaacs has shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that he's not likely to flee or to pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community if released and approved his release pending his appeal.

Judges Stephen Trott and Richard Paez ruled that Isaacs has shown that his appeal in the case raises a “substantial question” of law or fact that is “fairly debatable.”

If that substantial question is determined favorably to Isaacs on appeal, the court said, that decision is likely to result in reversal or an order for a new trial of all counts on which imprisonment was imposed.

"The matter is remanded to the district court for the limited purpose of establishing appropriate conditions of release," the appeals court said.

Isaacs told XBIZ that he's pleased with today's ruling on the bail motion and anticipates a decision on the conviction and sentencing by October.

"I'm pretty happy, but I'm also anxious for the appeal over convictions to the 9th Circuit," Isaacs said this afternoon. "This case against me has been nothing but twists and turns for nine years."

Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond had argued to the 9th Circuit that federal prosecutors haven't exercised restraint and wisdom in the case and that there wasn't a "reason for the government to try to save face and get Mr. Isaacs in custody while his appeal has not yet been."

"There is no reason for the government to take such a hard-nosed position unless politics is at play here," Diamond wrote prior to today's ruling. "Indeed, as the first trial revealed, the obscenity unit pursuing Isaacs was set up under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The unit no longer exists. This may very well be the last obscenity case being pursued in this country. Politics has no place in our criminal justice system."

Isaacs was found guilty in a third trial 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." Two earlier trials were declared mistrials.