Good (and bad) things come in small packages

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued this opinion yesterday. The case involves a retail novelty store, Dr. John’s, that sells a “range” of adult products. When the City of Roy (Utah) insisted that Dr. John’s submit to its sexually oriented business (SOB) licensing scheme, Dr. John’s launched a comprehensive challenge to the city’s SOB ordinances. At the core of these challenges was one to the “pre-packaged studies” that local governments frequently review (or cite) in support of the need for stringent laws regulating adult entertainment. The opinion walks through several issues, but found error in only one decided by the district court: whether the ordinance was properly supported as targeting the untoward “secondary effects” adult businesses are thought to produce. The Court stated, “It is unclear from the record what evidence supporting and countering the City’s rationale that the ordinance was indeed necessary to prevent these negative effects was presented to, and considered by, the district court.”

If, on remand, Dr. John’s succeeds in refuting the veracity and reliability of the city’s “pre-packaged” studies, the remainder of this Tenth Circuit opinion might become “retroactive dicta.”

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