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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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