On March 26, 1994, after four days of trial and a deliberation of forty, ninety, or 120 minutes, depending on what you read, a St. Petersburg, Florida, jury of three men and three women, each older than the defendant by at least a decade, declared Mike Diana to be the first American cartoonist officially guilty of obscenity.
The judge, an ex-naval officer, ex-prosecutor, and Rotarian, ordered Diana jailed. Diana’s girlfriend, Suzy Smith, wept. Diana’s lawyer asked for his jewelry so it would not be stolen by his guards. Diana spent four days in maximum security while the judge pondered his sentence. The noise was unrelenting. The lights were on constantly. His cell had a metal bed with one blanket. Sleep was impossible. His company included murderers and rapists.