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City stopped from enforcing adult-business law

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A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction to an adult bookstore in Indianapolis, temporarily stopping the city from enforcing a 2002 ordinance that regulates adult businesses.

In the six-year-old case of Annex Books , et al. v. City of Indianapolis, Ind., No. 1:03-CV-918, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District's Indianapolis Division issued the latest ruling Dec. 1 in a case asking whether local rules violate the bookstore's constitutional free-speech rights.

She had upheld the ordinance in 2004, and it went to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in 2005 but didn't issue a decision on the case until Sept. 3 this year. The appellate court affirmed Judge Barker's judgment regarding the licensing procedures set out in the ordinance but reversed on whether any substantive First Amendment issues exist. The appellate court remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing, which Judge Barker conducted Nov. 25.

In her 15-page order, Judge Barker restrained the city from enforcing the ordinance against Annex Books until a final decision is made on the First Amendment issue.

She wrote that in order to meet its burden set out by the 7th Circuit, the city must show that adult entertainment businesses without facilities for on-premises viewing create the same secondary effects as establishments providing those services and that the revised ordinance requiring plaintiffs to close between midnight and 10 a.m. has "the purpose and effect of suppressing secondary effects, while leaving the quantity and accessibility of speech substantially intact."

Judge Barker found that the city's evidence to date is likely insufficient to meet that burden and justify the ordinance.

"Considering the significant harm to Plaintiffs' free speech rights if the injunction is not issued, we find that the narrow segment of decreased crime during enforcement of the revised ordinance that the City has been able to demonstrate at this stage in the proceedings is insufficient to tip the balance in its favor," she wrote. "Accordingly, we find that, at this stage in the proceedings, Plaintiffs have demonstrated at least some likelihood of success on the merits."

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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