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Gartman, McDowell Sentenced to Prison in Obscenity Case
By: Mark Kernes (Courtesy of
Posted: 7/28/2006

Dallas – Clarence Thomas Gartman and his partner (and brother-in-law) Brent Alan McDowell were sentenced in federal court in Dallas Thursday to, respectively, 34 and 30 months in prison, after having been found guilty in a five-day trial in March for having mailed obscene material and "aiding and abetting." Additionally, Gartman was found guilty of conspiracy to mail obscene material.

The case revolves around a retail website,, in which Gartman allegedly had ownership. The Justice Department charged that Gartman, McDowell and another defendant had shipped a video known as BVM 24 across state lines, and that the video was allegedly obscene. The video depicted nipple piercing, but not explicit sex.

The sentences were handed down by Judge Barefoot Sanders of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, based on a sentencing hearing which had recommended that Gartman be sentenced consistent with level 26 of the federal sentencing guidelines, which would have resulted in a sentence in excess of five years.

However, according to Andrew Chatham, Gartman’s attorney, Judge Sanders sustained several objections to the sentencing board’s findings, including the government’s claim that Gartman’s business was worth in excess of $70,000, which would have added three extra points to the guidelines, and also to the government’s claim that Gartman was a "leader/organizer" of the enterprise, which would have added another four points. But Judge Sanders did find that the video depicted scenes of violence, which fact was worth four guideline points, for a total that put Gartman at level 19, resulting in a sentence of 34 months in prison. Judge Sanders rejected the argument that violence is a First Amendment-protected form of speech.

At press time, it was not known whether Gartman and/or McDowell would appeal their convictions.





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