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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ind. Decisions - "Adult bookstore court case could cost city taxpayers"

The most recent ILB entry in this long list of entries on the case of Annex Books v. City of Indianapolis is from Oct. 10, 2010.

Here is the ILB summary of the 7th Circuit 4-page, per curiam opinion from Oct. 10, 2010 in Annex Books v. City of Indianapolis (SD Ind., Evans):

This suit began when the City of Indianapolis required adult bookstores to be closed all day on Sunday and between midnight and 10 a.m. on other days. We held last year that the empirical support for this ordinance was too weak to satisfy the requirement of intermediate scrutiny, which applies to such laws. * * * The City needs evidence about the effects of the sort of law it enacted. We suggested that experience in Indianapolis itself could supply the required data: Before the City’s ordinance took its current form, plaintiffs had been treated like other bookstores, so it should be possible to find out whether the new closing hours reduced crime or produced other benefits. 581 F.3d at 463.

After the remand, plaintiffs asked the district court to enter a preliminary injunction. A hearing was held, at which Indianapolis offered a single piece of evidence: Richard McCleary & Alan C. Weinstein, Do “Off-Site” Adult Businesses Have Secondary Effects? Legal Doctrine, Social Theory, and Empirical Evidence, 31 L. & Policy 217 (2009). The authors concluded that dispersing adult stores that sell for off-site reading or viewing reduced crime in Sioux City, Iowa. Indianapolis contended that this article supports its ordinance too. The district judge was skeptical, and entitled to be so, for three reasons. * * *

The district judge did not abuse her discretion. The single article that Indianapolis offered suffers some of the shortcomings of the evidence we evaluated last year: it concerns a dispersal ordinance rather than an hours-ofoperation limit, and the authors did not attempt to control for other potential causes of change in the number of arrests near adult establishments. The other new evidence, derived from experience with this ordinance in Indianapolis, appears to support the plaintiffs (though a statistical analysis might show that the support is illusory). Given the state of the record, the district court’s decision is sound. The parties should devote their energies to compiling information from which a reliable final decision may be made after a trial on the merits. AFFIRMED

This evening Jack Rineart of WRTV reports:
INDIANAPOLIS - A lawsuit against the city by a number of adult bookstores could hit taxpayers in the pocketbook.

The suit was filed in October of 2003 and finally got in front of a federal judge last week. [ILB: Surely he means "got in front of a judge again".]

Four Indianapolis area bookstores want the judge to declare the city's adult entertainment ordinance unconstitutional and they also want the city to pay for lost revenues.

The original lawsuit was filed by the Annex Bookstore at 38th Street and Pendleton Pike. After more than 20 years in business, the city denied renewal of the store's retail license.

The licensing division said it would conduct an investigation of the business, and then several months later, the City-County Council passed another, more restrictive ordinance regulating adult entertainment.

Among other restrictions, the ordinance forbids private viewing booths and limits hours of operation.

In bolstering its more restrictive ordinance, the city argued that cutting hours of operation would cut crime in nearby neighborhoods. * * *

The bookstores allege the city is trying to restrict free speech and the dissemination of protected sexually oriented content. They also allege that the ordinance allows the city to deny or suspend licenses without cause, while permitting unauthorized and warrantless searches of their businesses.

The city's corporation counsel said their policy prohibits them from commenting on pending litigation.

If the bookstores prevail in their claim, the payout could be in excess of a million dollars.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 24, 2012 07:07 PM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions | Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions | Indiana Government