In 1994, Mike Diana was arrested and tried under obscenity laws for writing, drawing and publishing a 300 edition run of a photocopied black and white comic called Boiled Angel, made avaialable to adults via subscription.
The case became a cause celebre for defendents of the First Amendment, anti-censorship protestors and for comic books.
After being found guilty, and serving a short jail time, he was put on a probation that stated he wasn;t allowed to draw for three years.
And now he is the subject of a film, The Trial Of Mike Diana. But the production crew needed extra funding to travel for interviews for the documentary, for prepating art for the screen and for the film to undergo a legal review. So they turned to Kickstarter.
But the first stretch goal of $45,000 is yet to be reached. If that is hit, the fund will pay off the legal warrant for his arrest in Florida, where the film is due to be exhibited.
Because in 1996, while his case was still on appeal in Florida, Diana moved to New York City, where he was granted permission to serve out his sentence, and fulfill his community service obligation through volunteer work for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Soon after the move, the Court refused to accept an amicus brief submitted by the ACLU, and responded without comment to the second appeal.
Because Diana was no longer in their jurisdiction and New York City refused to extradite him because his convictions were for misdemeanors, they allowed him to serve his probation by mail, and took the required journalistic ethics course at New York University. Diana’s new psychiatrist concluded that he was perfectly normal, which she reported to the Florida court.
He performed his community service by working about ten hours per week at Lower East Side community garden and another six hours per week at Gods Love We Deliver, a group that delivers food to HIV patients. However, before his probation officer quit the Salvation Army-run probation department, she told the court that Diana had violated his probation. Still owing $2,000 in fines, a warrant was issued for his arrest in Florida.
The stretch goal should let Diana return to Florida without fear of arrest.
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