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Ruling in sex toys case may mean stricter law

HOOVER (AP) — The state attorney general might ask the Legislature to amend the state's anti-obscenity law after a Jefferson County judge ruled this month that part of the law was too vague to force closure of a sex toys store in Hoover.

"I think the vagueness of this law that is being alluded to would best be addressed where it was created, by the Alabama Legislature," said Chris Bence, a spokesman for Attorney General Troy King.

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said the city probably won't appeal the Nov. 2 ruling by Circuit Judge Robert Vance Jr. because his decision was based on the law's vagueness.

Bence said the attorney general's office probably wouldn't pursue an appeal without the city.

The city of Hoover argued that the store should not be allowed to operate at its U.S. 31 location because it violates a law forbidding "adult-only" businesses within 1,000 feet of houses, day-care centers, churches and other places frequented by minors. The judge ruled that while Love Stuff "clearly sells a number of items that are for adults only, this Court lacks any standards to decide whether it is an 'other form of adult-only enterprise.' "

Testimony in the case showed that in December 2006, the Love Stuff store had 36 percent of its inventory in an area of the store set aside for adult-oriented items, and that area was restricted to adults. The rest of the store is open to customers of any age.

Ross Winner, who also manages the company's two stores in Montgomery and Oxford, hopes to sign a new lease this week for up to 10 years at the Hoover location.

Bence said King would probably decide whether to seek an amendment after getting input from law enforcement officials around the state.

The Legislature's next regular session is set for February.

Attorney Amy Herring said the store will stick to policies that allow it to keep selling sexual devices legally. That means customers who buy the devices must sign statements saying their purchases are for a "bona fide medical or other purpose" allowed under the law.

"We're very concerned about that," Herring said. "We have to stay on our toes."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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