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Ah-ooooo Werewolves of Supermax

Pelican Bay, on California's north coast, is much too nice a place to build a prison.  Even so, that is the site of the state's highest security lockup, also known as "Slammer by the Sea" and "Dungeness Dungeon."

So what can prisoners read while doing their (usually long) time there?  Scott Graham reports for the Recorder:

Bringing a scholarly take to trashy literature, the First District Court of Appeal ruled Friday that state prison officials can't stop an inmate from reading an erotic romance novel built around human-werewolf relationships.
The Silver Crown by Mathilde Madden may describe graphic sexual encounters and contain a fair amount of violence, but it is not legally obscene under state and federal standards, Justice James Richman wrote for a unanimous First District panel.
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The 262-page novel tells the story of Iris, a werewolf hunter who ends up falling in love with one of her prey. The book contains "a great number of graphic sexual encounters, one per chapter through most of the book, including detailed descriptions of intercourse, sodomy, oral-genital contact, oral-anal contact, voyeurism, exhibitionism and ménage à trois. Semen is mentioned," Richman wrote. "On the other hand, the sex appears to be between consenting adults. No minors are involved. No bestiality is portrayed (unless werewolves count). And there is no sadomasochism."
Did the court duck an essential issue here?  Should we have an official judicial determination of whether werewolves count?

I heard the oral argument in this case.  It was on the calendar before the case I actually went to hear, the lethal injection case.  It was kind of entertaining, although I did feel sorry for the DAG stuck with defending CDCR in this case.  The opinion is here.

One procedural nitpick:  It's a little weird that California uses habeas corpus to address such questions, but nobody seems interested in changing that, so I haven't pressed the point.

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