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7th Circuit mulls adult-business laws

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering whether a Southern District of Indiana judge correctly weighed evidence in granting a preliminary injunction that stopped Indianapolis from enforcing a 2002 ordinance regulating adult-business hours.

Attorneys appeared before a three-judge panel Sept. 20 to argue the 7-year-old case of Annex Books, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, Ind., No. 1:03-CV-918, which U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled on in December 2009.

The case had been remanded after the 7th Circuit heard arguments in 2005. The appellate court had affirmed Judge Barker’s judgment regarding the licensing procedures set out in the ordinance but reversed on whether any substantive First Amendment issues existed. The appellate court had ordered an evidentiary hearing, and she examined whether any secondary effects were created by the ordinance that required the plaintiffs to close between midnight and 10 a.m. The judge found the city’s evidence to date is likely insufficient to meet the standard or justify the ordinance, and Indianapolis appealed that preliminary injunction.

Corporate attorney Justin Roebel for Indianapolis argued that Judge Barker created a new standard and shouldn’t have weighed the evidence, and should not be turning this case into what he described as a “battle of experts.” The city doesn’t need to provide localized evidence but can use outside-the-state data, even if it’s from much larger cities such as New York and Reno that have different demographics.

The 7th Circuit judges pressed the attorneys about the data being relied on in this case, criticizing it as being outdated and not adequate to compare the effects of the ordinance.

Plaintiff’s attorney J. Michael Murray agreed the evidence wasn’t technically clear but that it logically showed an increase in crime rather than what the city said the ordinance effect would be. Murray said more conclusive and “statistically significant” data would be presented at trial for a permanent injunction, but Roebel argued that a trial isn’t the standard and the plaintiff’s data currently isn’t adequate to be relied on.

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook questioned that data and said this is a case that doesn’t have clear guidance. In response to an initial statement from Murray about how the previous 7th Circuit ruling from last year created a “template” for Judge Barker to use, Chief Judge Easterbrook opined about how unclear this issue is for the trial court to determine.

“I think that might be overstating the extent to which our opinion can be said to be a ‘template’ … There’s a whole passage in there that says we appreciate that we’re remanding with a completely fuzzball standard and aren’t entirely sure what it means,” he said. “But that’s what the Supreme Court has said.”

The panel took the case under advisement.
 

Rehearing "City stopped from enforcing adult-business law" IL Daily Dec. 3, 2009

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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