ILNews

Suit challenges new sexually explicit retailer law

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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Several Indiana arts and publishing organizations have joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in a suit challenging the state's new law that requires sellers of sexually explicit material to register and pay a fee to the state.

The ACLU of Indiana, along with the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, Freedom to Read Association, Big Hat Books, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and other groups, yesterday filed the suit, Big Hat Books, Boxcar Books and Community Center Inc., et al. v. Prosecutors, 1:08-CV-00596, in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana against every county prosecutor. The plaintiffs want a preliminary injunction, and later a permanent injunction, enjoining the enforcement of the statute. The plaintiffs also ask for attorney's fees and all other proper relief.

The suit challenges the constitutionality of House Enrolled Act 1042 that will require any person or organization - including all its employees - that wants to sell literature or other material deemed harmful to minors under Indiana law to register with the Secretary of State and pay a $250 filing fee. The plaintiffs claim the new law, which takes effect July 1, is unconstitutionally vague, an unjustified content-based restriction on activity that is protected, is a content-based punitive tax on First Amendment protected materials, and is irrational and violates due process.

The law doesn't apply to anyone or group who sells sexually explicit materials unless the business location changes after June 30, 2008; however, if a new employee is hired after June 30, he or she will be required to register with the state.

Several of the businesses in the suit are contemplating relocation or expansion in the upcoming months and would be subject to the new law. The plaintiffs worry that any material they sell - books, music, art, photos - that is considered sexually explicit under Indiana statute would require them to register with the state if they relocate even if the material isn't intended for the sale or use by minors, or if they hire a new employee after June 30. The plaintiffs claim having to register would label the businesses and organizations as purveyors of sexually explicit material and harm their reputation.

The suit claims the statue contains no guidance as to what types of materials must be registered with the Secretary of State and will lead to self-censorship in order to avoid the state's registration requirements.
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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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