Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Obscene Literature

In 1959 the United States Supreme Court in Smith v. California'held a city and county ordinance unconstitutional for failure to require scienter on the part of a defendant. That ordinance, like many other ordinances and state statutes, subjected a bookseller to criminal prosecution for the sale of obscene literature regardless of whether he knew that it was obscene. The Court reasoned that such an ordinance would result in a bookseller's refusal to sell many publications which would not be legally suppressible but which the seller suspected of being obscene, perhaps without having read them. This self-censorship would constitute a restraint on freedom of speech and press in violation of the first and fourteenth amendments.


Protection of the Surviving Spouse's Rights Under Elective Share Statutes

Statutes protecting a surviving spouse's rights in her husband's property, and imposing restraints on voluntary disinheritance by the husband, are as old as the Code of Hammurabi. At common law,a widow was protected against complete disinheritance by the right of dower, which consisted of a life estate in one-third of the lands and tenements of which her husband was seized at any time during coverture and which could have descended to the issue of the marriage.


The Right to Bail and the Pre-"Trial" Detention of Juveniles Accused of "Crime"

Recent years have brought an increasing percentage of our population into the juvenile age category. Yet, the number of crimes committed by juveniles has increased almost three times as fast as the juvenile population. While the rights of adults accused of crime have been receiving renewed attention and the public eye has been directed to the problem of bail and pre-trial detention of adults, surprisingly little consideration has been given to the same problem with respect to juveniles. The purpose of this paper is to examine the bail and pre-trial detention problems facing the juvenile accused of "criminal" conduct.