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7th Circuit upholds injunction in adult-business ordinance case

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Southern District of Indiana judge who granted a preliminary injunction preventing Indianapolis from enforcing the 2002 ordinance that regulates adult-bookstore business hours.

After hearing arguments Sept. 20 in Annex Books, Inc., et al. v. City of Indianapolis, Ind., No. 09-4156, the federal appellate court issued a per curium opinion today upholding U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s preliminary injunction. Judge Barker heard the case on remand from the 7th Circuit after the appellate court concluded the city of Indianapolis needed evidence about the effects of the law it enacted that required adult bookstores to be closed certain hours of the day.

At a hearing before the District Court, Indianapolis offered one piece of evidence: a study that said dispersing adult stores that sell items for off-site reading or viewing reduced crime in Sioux City, Iowa. But this article didn’t support Indianapolis’ position because it deals with dispersal instead of an hour-of-operation ordinance. The study also didn’t attempt to control for other variables.

The adult bookstores offered the arrest data from Indianapolis near its stores that showed the number of arrests didn’t decrease once the ordinance took effect. These numbers weren't subjected to statistical analysis, but the Circuit judges found they imply that the change in business hours didn’t produce any measurable benefit.

The Circuit judges also suggested the parties devote their energies to compiling information from which a reliable final decision may be made following a trial on the merits.
 

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