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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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