New obscenity law: adios

Dateline: Tue 01 Jul 2008

Indiana Lawyer reports that Judge Sarah Evans Barker has mercifully struck down a state law that would have required booksellers and other organizations to pay a $250 fee and register with the state for selling material deemed harmful to minors.

Here are excerpts from the Indiana Lawyer story by Michael W. Hoskins:

"Plaintiffs, which included the Indianapolis Museum of Art, booksellers, and multiple publishing organizations, claimed that the new law is unconstitutionally vague, an unjustified content-based restriction on activity that is protected, is irrational and violates due process, and is a content-based punitive tax on First Amendment protected materials.

"Judge Barker granted final summary judgment in the case, holding that it 'unduly burdens First Amendment rights, and is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.'

"Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana that had filed the suit, applauded the decision."

Big Hat Bookstore in Broad Ripple and the Indianapolis Museum of Art were among the plaintiffs, plus numerous publishing houses. As poorly written as this law was, it seems like McDonald's could have joined in as well.

Harmful to minors? $250 registration with the secretary of state? For

selling material harmful to minors? Does that mean when I put a corn sheller in my booth at Midland Arts and Antiques, and run the risk of a minor sticking his/her finger in, I'm in trouble? Or put out a series of 1940s detective novels with "hard-boiled" noir art?

Bad law, bad law. Good riddance Thanks to the reader who tipped us to the ruling.

Get the news here first at Indiana Lawyer:

http://www.theindianalawyer.com/html/detail_page.asp?content=02082

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