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Santa Ana : Cost of Copying Films Is Pornography Case Issue

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The battle against an adult theater, which already has cost the city $425,000, could begin to cost an additional $45,000 a week, a lawyer said Wednesday.

The added expense would represent the cost of copying three allegedly pornographic films shown each week at the Mitchell Bros. theater at 17th and Bristol streets, which the city has been trying to close for 10 years.

When the figure was mentioned in court by attorney James J. Clancy, representing the city, Superior Court Judge Harmon G. Scoville said he was “flabbergasted.”

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At issue Wednesday was Clancy’s bid to subpoena the films. Two weeks ago, Scoville decided that they could be seized, but only if the city quickly made 35-mm duplicates so that the films could be returned to the theater. All costs of gathering the evidence were to be paid by the city.

Because Clancy is filing a new lawsuit each week challenging all films shown and because the theater shows three new films each week, the $45,000 copying costs would be borne each week by taxpayers.

Clancy had urged Scoville to allow the copies to be made on videotape, at a weekly cost of about $900. The alternative, he said, is “ridiculous. It’s not feasible.”

Mitchell Bros. attorney Thomas Steel opposed the city’s bid to modify the requirement of 35-mm copies.

Scoville ordered further arguments in the case.

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