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Hearing rescheduled in obscenity cases

South Bend, Indiana- A hearing is set for Dec. 16 in St. Joseph Superior Court that is expected to resolve the charges remaining in four cases charging adult book store operators or employees with distributing obscene materials.
A hearing scheduled for this week was postponed because of conflicts in some of the lawyers’ schedules, said Kenneth Cotter, a chief deputy prosecutor.

Senior Judge George N. Beamer recently ruled that a quantity of the evidence collected by police at the two adult bookstores could not be used by the prosecution as evidence because police went further in seizing items than permitted by their search warrants. Beamer is a retired Superior Court judge who was appointed special judge for the cases.

The materials involved are videotapes and other things taken from the Adult Emporium in South Bend and the Pleasureland Museum in Mishawaka.

Former Prosecutor Chris Toth in early 2001 filed felony and misdemeanor charges against two people connected with each business. The 19 charges were later reduced to about half a dozen in each case, and additional charges could be dismissed with Beamer’s recent ruling.

The rulings came in the cases of Shirlee and Edward Balanow, the mother and son owners of the Pleasureland Museum, and of Teri Olling, who was employed at the Adult Emporium at the time she was charged in 2001.

Beamer’s previous ruling was in the case of Frank Ptak, a manager of the business that owns the Adult Emporium. The ruling ended up leaving only misdemeanors in Ptak’s case.

The four cases began in early 2001 when filed by former Prosecutor Toth. They included several felonies and 15 misdemeanor charges of distributing or pandering obscenity.

Before the defense attorneys’ motions to suppress evidence, the number of charges had been significantly reduced to just six or seven counts in each case. Beamer is a retired Superior Court judge who was appointed special judge for the cases.
 

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