SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A Superior Court judge has granted Capital Video's request for a preliminary injunction allowing video booths at its Amazing.net store to remain open despite the city's attempt to shut them down.
Capital Video has been fighting the city in court for two years. Mayor Domenic J. Sarno denied the store's yearly permit application for the booths in 2007 in the wake of complaints about "lewd behavior". According to court documents, the Mayor found that conditions at the store led to two sexual assaults on patrons in 2006.
Capital took steps to improve the booth conditions, installing security cameras and covering up "glory holes" between viewing stalls. Nevertheless, the city denied the store's application again this year.
In approving the request for a preliminary injunction, Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty found that the city had presented no evidence to justify its denial of a license for viewing booths on the premises.
The city argued that video booths pose public health risk by contributing to the spread of HIV. The court disagreed, ruling that since there was no sexual contact between patrons, and because booth viewers could only observe one another through glass windows, the HIV argument was "unpersuasive."
Judge Moriarty cited a precedent in the case of Fantasy Book Shop v. City of Boston, which established that the sale of adult videos through coin-operated video booths is "expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment."