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Sex-Linked Bookstore Loses 2 Legal Battles

June 16, 1988|STEPHANIE O'NEILL | Times Staff Writer

The operators of Glendale's only sexually oriented bookstore have lost two legal battles--an appellate panel upheld their convictions on zoning violations and, two days later, a Municipal Court judge ordered them to remove video display booths in which sexual acts allegedly occurred.

In a ruling issued June 7, the Appellate Department of Los Angeles Superior Court upheld the November convictions of store manager Gary Enea and president-owner Daniel Bishop.

On Thursday, Glendale Municipal Judge Cheryl Krott ruled that the video booths must be removed in 30 days, pending the appellate ruling.

In the November trial, Krott ruled that Enea and Bishop violated a city use-and-occupancy permit by installing without permission about 20 token-operated video preview booths in Unique News & Video on San Fernando Road. They installed the booths about a week after the store opened in May, 1986.

During that trial, Assistant City Atty. Scott H. Howard introduced evidence suggesting that sexual liaisons between men took place in booths that had holes cut between the walls. He also argued that the closet-sized booths gave the store its main source of income.

Krott placed the men on unsupervised probation and fined them $850 each. She also ordered that the booths be closed, pending an appeal by Enea to city zoning officials.

Zoning officials turned down his appeal in January, stating that only businesses in the city's downtown zone could obtain a permit that would allow operation of the video booths. The store is on an industrial portion of San Fernando Road.

Language Called Vague

Roger Jon Diamond, attorney for the two men, appealed the convictions on the basis that the language in the ordinance was vague and that the city was not applying its building code properly. But the three appellate judges who issued a written decision disagreed.

"The ordinance clearly applies to video arcade booths," wrote Superior Court Judges Robert L. Roberson Jr., Jack M. Newman and Alfred L. Margolis. "As we conclude, the language of the ordinance is not vague."

Diamond has until Wednesday to petition for a rehearing in the Appellate Department of Los Angeles County or apply for certification to state Court of Appeal.

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