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Thread: Judge Rules Against Giuliani Plan on Sex Shops

  1. #1

    Default Judge Rules Against Giuliani Plan on Sex Shops

    September 11, 2003

    Judge Rules Against Giuliani Plan on Sex Shops

    By SUSAN SAULNY

    The city cannot change a zoning law to try to close a legal loophole that has allowed sex shops to stay in business, a Manhattan judge ruled yesterday.

    Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani proposed the amendment in 2001, a final volley in what had been his administration's campaign against New York City shops dealing in pornography. It sought to circumvent a loophole under which video stores added hundreds of nonsexual titles to their shelves to narrowly conform to the anti-pornography zoning law. Similarly, go-go bars added floor space featuring everything from sushi to Shakespeare performances.

    The Giuliani administration called this a sham compliance, saying that the stores or bars still relied mostly on the sexually oriented sales. While the original 1998 law dealt only with the amount of floor space devoted to sex, the admendment sought to close the loophole by letting regulators take into account factors like a store's layout, among many other things, in order to crack down on the businesses.

    In the decision, Justice Louis B. York of State Supreme Court said that the amendment was not defensible because it sought to alter the content of free expression, which is constitutionally protected. In addition, he said, the city offered no studies or data to make clear that a revised zoning standard was needed.

    Judge York said that "the defendants have not met their burden under the First Amendment."

    Mark Alonso, a lawyer for Ten's Cabaret, one of the more prominent plaintiffs, said that the "decision makes sense."

    The city disagreed.

    "We believe that Justice York was wrong in finding that the amended provisions of the Zoning Resolution are unconstitutional," said Robin Binder, the deputy chief of the Administrative Law Division at the Corporation Counsel. "We intend to immediately appeal that decision, and we will seek quick appellate review. Unfortunately, as a consequence of Justice York's decision, the city's neighborhoods will have to wait even longer to rid themselves of the nuisances caused by adult establishments posing as nonadult businesses."

    Lawyers representing some of the X-rated businesses that brought the suit said they found the ruling gratifying.

    "This was a patent effort on the part of the city to close establishments because the entertainment they provide is distasteful," said Herald Price Fahringer, a lawyer who represents several pornographic video stores. "Close places based on content?" he said. "That is exactly what you can't do under the law."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
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    This is just nonsense. A waste of time. I still can't believe all this effort is going into closing businesses that people obviously want to patronize (they're in business, right). If naked women aren't plastered in the windows and 10 yr olds are not checking out the goods, then get over it already.

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