Miller v. California is a case dealing with Miller, an owner of an adult oriented business that solicits through mass mailings, and a manager and mother on the opposite end receiving the printed material. Miller sent five unsolicited brochures to a restaurant in Newport Beach, California that consisted primarily of explicit pictures, with some printed material. Upon opening the materials received from Miller, the restaurant manager and his mother complained to the police, who charged Miller under a California obscenity statute. Miller was convicted of a misdemeanor by jury trial, and upheld by the Court of Appeals.
Miller was charged with a misdemeanor against the publisher for violations of California Penal Code 311 and 311.2 (a), distributing obscene material. CPC 311.2(a) states that, "Every person who knowingly sends or causes to be sent, or brings or causes to be brought, into this state for sale or distribution, or in this state possesses, prepares, publishes, produces, or prints, with intent to distribute or to exhibit to others, or who offers to distribute, distributes, or exhibits to others, any obscene matter is for a first offense, guilty of a misdemeanor. If the person has previously been convicted of any violation of this section, the court may, in addition to the punishment authorized in Section 311.9, impose a fine not exceeding fifty thousand dollars."
The case was heard in Judge James Harvey Brown's courtroom in Los Angeles County Municipal Court. Miller was convicted in a jury trial in a sate court of disseminating advertising brochures containing explicit sexual illustrations. The conviction was obtained under the state's obscenity law after the trial judge had instructed the jury to evaluate the lewdness of the materials according to state rather than national standards.
When the state courts of appeal sustained the conviction, Miller appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect his first amendment rights of freedom of speech and press.