Supreme Court Rejects Sex Shop Owner's Appeal

Supreme Court Rejects Sex Shop Owner's Appeal

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected without comment a suburban sex shop owner's appeal of a state court's ruling.

The Utah Supreme Court in May ruled against John Haltom, saying he could not challenge the constitutionality of a sexually oriented licensing law for which he hasn't applied.

"The record also indicates, however, that had Dr. John's applied for the correct license he would have received one," the opinion said.

Haltom's attorney, Andrew McCullough, did not immediately return a phone call left Monday by The Associated Press.

When ruling against Haltom last spring, the justices said he failed to show that his business "suffered more onerous treatment or adverse consequences than a regular commercial establishment."

Haltom owns Doctor John's Lingerie and Novelty Boutique in the Salt Lake City suburb of Midvale, which sells adult videos, lingerie, and erotic toys.

The state Supreme Court's ruling also upheld a permanent injunction against Haltom from selling adult material.

Haltom was ordered to register for a sexually oriented business license, which are traditionally more difficult to obtain than commercial business licenses. Third District Judge Leslie Lewis ruled two years ago that Haltom's business primarily sold items for sexual pleasure, qualifying it as a sexually oriented business.

Sexually oriented businesses must pay for employees' fingerprinting and background checks, and the store must close at a certain hour.

Midvale officials ordered Haltom to remove certain items from his shelves; he complied, but later restocked his shelves.

Haltom, a Nebraska resident, had called the state Supreme Court's ruling appalling. He has suggested that if Utah wanted to secede from the United States, he wouldn't object. He said two of his 16 stores are in Utah because Utah residents are sexually repressed.

Haltom was jailed earlier this year in Omaha, Neb., on convictions for violating public decency. He also faces charges in Scottsbluff, Neb.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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