Peep shows in Odenton remain shut Trial to decide if they may reopen

December 20, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A Circuit Court judge has ruled that peep show booths in an Odenton bookstore must remain closed until a trial is held on the county's request to permanently shut the booths down.

The decision led county lawyers to say they would seek a similar order against an Annapolis store if it continues to operate the videos.

Judge H. Chester Goudy granted an injunction Friday to shut down the peep shows in an adult bookstore in the 1600 block of Annapolis Road until the trial. No trial date has been set.

Annapolis Road Ltd., which operates the Odenton store, has sued to overturn the county's 1991 law requiring a license for adult video arcades. The county is trying to shut down the operation because it doesn't have the required license.

William E. Seekford, the lawyer for the shop's owners, argued that the ordinance gives zoning officers too much discretion in determining which shops should be closed and allows selective enforcement of the ban on sales of sexually related materials.

He argued that if the county decides to regulate peep shows, it also should regulate the sale of birth-control devices, such as condoms.

"If you regulate one, you have to regulate them all," he said.

Mr. Seekford also argued that it was unfair for the county to charge $500 for each video machine that shows adult films.

But David A. Plymyer, deputy county attorney, said the peep show booths generate about $500 a day in income.

Judge Goudy ruled that the county law is constitutional and that the "public and the county have a right to have the laws enforced."

"And I think it's a reasonable inference that harm will come to the county if its laws are not enforced," he said.

The shop was one of two targeted by the County Council in November 1991 when it adopted an ordinance requiring Class Y licenses for peep shows.

Judge Bruce C. Williams ruled Monday that a similar shop at 2020-C West St., outside Annapolis, is operating in violation of the same law.

But the ruling did not order the store to close the booths.

Mr. Plymyer said yesterday that if the West Street shop $l continues to so operate, the county "will seek the same kind of enforcement action" and shut it down.

He said neither of the court orders applies to bookstore portions of the shops, which will be permitted to stay open.

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