The Chicago Tribune newspaper reports that Christopher Handley has pleaded guilty on Wednesday "to possessing drawings of children being sexually abused." The Iowa man faces up to 15 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine, although sentencing has not been scheduled.
Handley was accused of receiving and possessing obscene manga, as opposed to child pornography (as they previously tried to charge him with), via the United States Postal Service in May of 2006. The judge in Handley's case struck down some of the charges against Handley and ruled parts of the PROTECT Act of 2003 unconstitutional for restricting free speech. However, Handley still faced charges for possession of obscene material because it was "moved in interstate commerce".
He was a collector of Japanese manga not some sort of raging pervert. His sentence is based off of the “possession of 150 but less than 300 such images in total.” Not 150 to 300 magazines mind you, but cartoon pages with one or more panels or individual jpgs. That is of over 1,000+ books, several computers, and hundreds of DVDs seized from his house by the prosecutors.
The dude had a massive collection and if you were to look into any library of that size I am sure you can find plenty of material some might find obscene. I am looking at my own collection and my uncensored Tokyopop releases of Yubisaki Milk Tea start coming to mind…
I am extremely disappointed in his lawyer Eric Chase, his firm United Defense Group, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund who acted as special adviser to the defense. The CBLDF used Hadley's case as a flagship for fund raising and when push came to shove according to the family they let his lawyers screw him.
The ANN article is here, Japanator's comments section has commentary from someone close to the defendant, ComiPress has a writeup by a lawyer overviewing the case and its background, Newbery Medal-winning Neil Gaiman commented here.
The Department of Justice's press release announcing their great victory against the manga scourge can be found here.