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Knox County Has Right to Regulate Adult Businesses

(CN) - The 6th Circuit upheld Knox County's regulation of sexually oriented businesses, rejecting the claim of business owners that the county ordinance is unconstitutional.

Richland Bookmart, Adult Video Superstore and Raymond's Place sued the county, claiming the ordinance:

- Violated the First Amendment because the county did not prove the businesses produced adverse secondary effects.

- Defined "nudity," "semi-nudity," and "adult motel" in an overbroad way;

- Constituted a prior restraint; and

- Regulated the businesses' hours in a way that is pre-empted by Tennessee law.

The Cincinnati-based federal appeals court backed the county's reasons for enacting the ordinance.

"The Knox County ordinance is a content-neutral time, place and manner regulation," Judge Boggs wrote. "It expressly seeks to regulate protected expression in order to ameliorate adverse secondary effects."

Boggs also reinstated two portions of the ordinance that the district court severed, in which racketeering and controlled substances would trigger the ordinance's civil liability provision.

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