U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Arcara v. Cloud Books, Inc.: Locking out Prostitution

NCJ Number
Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: (Fall 1987) Pages: 181-192
I L Potter
Date Published
10 pages
With increasing frequency, State and local governments are using nuisance abatement laws to regulate illicit sexual conduct occurring both in and out of traditional houses of prostitution.
In some contexts, these laws have been challenged as violating the first amendment. In People ex rel. Arcara v. Cloud Books, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether the first amendment bars enforcement of a statute authorizing closure of an adult bookstore. The Court concluded that a first amendment analysis was not required merely because books were sold on the premises. In this decision and in three State decisions involving closure (padlock) laws, the fact that illicit sexual activities were conducted in bookstores were not viewed as having first amendment implications so long as the contents of the materials sold are not at issue and the statute invoked is not a pretext for censorship. Thus, it is unlikely that such laws will lead to greater State censorship of adult bookstores, but they will provide an effective mechanism for clamping down on illicit sexual conduct. 94 footnotes.


No download available