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Long Beach : Court to Rule on Porno Ban

June 02, 1988

The California Supreme Court has agreed to consider the constitutionality of a Long Beach ordinance that would ban the showing of pornographic movies at the Lakewood Theater on Carson Street.

Deputy City Prosecutor Gerry Ensley said a ruling would clarify a previous decision that held that theaters must show a "preponderance" of X-rated films in order to be considered adult theaters.

The Long Beach law passed in 1977 requires that no X-rated films can be exhibited in a theater closer than 500 feet of any residence or within 1,000 feet of a school. The Lakewood Theater is situated near a residential area and a block from Long Beach City College.

The state Court of Appeal ruled that it only applies to theaters that show a "preponderance" of X-rated movies. After the ruling, the Lakewood Theater started showing both R-rated and X-rated movies on separate screens so that the court's ruling would not be violated.

"We think its a very important case because porn zoning is dead in California" as a result of the "preponderance" rule, Ensley said. The court will be asked to clarify the meaning of "preponderance," whether it refers to the size of theaters, the amount of time that X-rated movies are shown or some other criterion, he added.

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