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December 29, 2020

The Case of the Purloined Porn Stash | Cup of Joe

The Case of the Purloined Porn Stash

"Tell your parents what you want for Christmas or they will go looking for ideas."

Advice from Elf on the Shelf (but too late)

Internet porn is free. But still, U.S. adult magazines still outsell most mainstream magazines, and are among the top-selling magazines of any type.

In the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun, Officer Don has a stash of Playpen magazines, and after his girlfriend Sally thinks about posing to it, he gets infuriated and cancels his lifetime subscription — replacing it with a year-by-year one.

This week’s case is about a porn stash owned by a 42-year-old man. He moved back into his parents’ home soon after he got divorced. He brought his stash with him to his parents’ home and put it in the basement. A little over a year later, he moved out into his own place. He asked his parents to forward his things. The parents packed up his things and sent them to him, but the stash was missing. The porn stash had been destroyed by the parents, and they told their son what they did. They did not apologize. The parents were immediately sued by their son…

And this is the trial:

Enter:

David Werking, 42, recently-divorced owner of a porn stash.

Paul Werking, his dad.

Opening Statements By David's Attorney:

The case isn’t just about a guy and his dirty magazines. This was a collection of often-irreplaceable items and property. And you will hear testimony from the defendant Paul, that he intentionally and maliciously destroyed his son’s property. Now you may not approve of pornography depicting consenting adults engaged in lawful acts; but that is not the issue. My client owned this property and now the property is gone for good.

Opening Statements By The Parents' Attorney:

This is a case about trash that was left at my clients’ home. Trash…smut…garbage. And what do garbage? You throw it out. And that’s what my clients did. David’s claim will fail because the testimony will show that my clients did not convert – or use – David’s filthy magazines for their own use or for a purpose personal to them. They were doing their son a favor by getting rid of greasy literature that never belonged in their home in the first place. Thank you for listening.

Testimony of David:

Q: When did you move back into your parents’ home? 

A: I moved in on October 5.

Q: And when did you move out?

A: August 23.

Q: When you moved out, did you take all of your things with you?

A: Mostly. But I left some things that had been stored in the basement.

Q: What did you do with those things that you had left behind?

A: In November, I had requested that my parents return my property.

Q: Did they?

A: They did — in part — a little more than a week before Christmas.

Q: What do you mean by “in part”?

A: Well, they didn’t return my magazines, and they were valuable and they were important to me. My dad told me they were destroyed.

Q: How much were they worth?

A: I have an exact number for you, which I had provided to my parents’ lawyer: the total is $25,557.89. But a lot of the magazines are just not available anywhere? So, they’re gone for good.

Cross-Examination of David:

Q: David, you didn’t go back to your parents’ house to retrieve you dirty magazines, right?

A: They’re not dirty. And, no, I did not go back myself.

Q: You made your parents get everything in the basement together to ship it for you — These valuable and irreplaceable magazines?

A: Yes.

Q: I see. You didn’t ask your parents to have the items insured, did you?

A: No, I did not.

Q: And to be clear, the items that you had asked your parents to ship to included a trove of pornography and an array of sex toys, right?

A: Correct.

Q: Were the sex toys irreplaceable?

A: I don’t know.

Q: Nothing further.

Testimony of Paul — David's Dad:

Q: Did you dispose of David’s magazines and sex toys?

A: I most certainly did. Disgusting!

Q: You didn’t tell David that you were destroying them?

A: No I didn’t. If you found heroin in your kid’s bedroom, would you ask them if they wanted it back?

OBJECTION: The magazines were legal! Move to strike!!!

JUDGE: SUSTAINED. EVERYTHING AFTER “NO I DIDN’T” WILL BE STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD AND THE JURY WILL DISREGARD THE STATEMENTS ABOUT HEROIN.

Q: When David asked about the magazines and the toys, you told him that “the items were destroyed,” correct?

A: Correct.

Q: And in the months that followed, David and you discussed what happened via email, right?

A: Yes, I remember that.

Q: I am handing you a printout of an email you sent to David, dated January 1. Do you recognize that as your email to your son?

A: I do.

Q: And the email states as follows: I do not possess your pornography. It is gone. It has been either destroyed or disposed of. I may well have missed a few items that are now in your possession, but at this point, if you don’t have it, it is gone. Ditto for your sex toys and smutty magazines. You remember writing that, sir?

A: I do.

Q: And then you continued stating as follows: Frankly, David, I did you a big favor by getting rid of all this stuff for you. Do you remember writing that?

A: Yes. I did do him a favor.

Q: By destroying his property?

A: By destroying his trash.

Q: And then a few months later you wrote another email to David?

A: Probably.

Q: And the email states as follows: Believe it or not, one reason why I destroyed your porn was for your own mental and emotional health. Do you remember writing that after the police had become involved?

A: I do remember that.

Q: Nothing further, Your Honor.

Judge's Ruling:

Getting to the heart of the coconut now, the legal issue before the Court is whether Paul and Beth — David’s mother and father — converted David’s pornography “to their own use” by destroying it.

There is an old case from 1874, Kreiter v. Nichols, where someone destroyed kegs of beer because they believed that the beer was unhealthy. The owner of the beer sued. The court ruled there that, to take someone else's property for their own use, it need not be geared toward the intended purpose of the property. That court held that a converter of beer was liable regardless of whether they destroyed it from a belief in its unhealthy effects, or made way with it in carousals or private drinking.

In other words, even destroying property, whether beer or porn, could be for one’s “own use.”

David is entitled to judgment on liability. 

Conclusion:

Davis wins — he has defeated his parents.

David’s attorney stated that he was pleased with the judge’s ruling, and added: “We have asked the Court for treble damages, which we believe are warranted given the wanton destruction of the property.”

Click HERE to read the full case.

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