Hustler Publisher, Brother Win Another Round in Ohio

Rhett Pardon
CINCINNATI – Prosecutors in Ohio can’t reinstate pandering obscenity charges against Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and brother Jimmy, the Ohio First District Court of Appeals Court ruled Friday.

The Hamilton County District Attorneys office attempted to try the Flynts again after they broke a deal that led to 1999 charges against him being dismissed.

“When a case is over, it’s over. This case was over in 1999,” Judge Mark Painter wrote Friday.

The case goes back nearly five years when the Flynts were set to face trial, charged in a 15-count indictment with selling sexually obscene videos at Hustler News & Gifts.

But after jurors were seated, the Flynts agreed to a deal with prosecutors that resulted in charges against them being dismissed in exchange for a $10,000 fine against the store and with the agreement that the store would never again sell such videos in Hamilton County.

When undercover police last year bought videos in Hustler’s downtown Cincinnati shop that prosecutors considered sexually obscene, prosecutors sought to reinstate the original charges against the Flynt brothers.

Prosecutors argued they dismissed the 1999 charges “conditionally,” an argument that drew a rebuke from Painter.

“Cases cannot be in limbo, to be magically resurrected at whim,” he said. “The state cannot reinstate a dismissed indictment and perpetually save a place in a judge’s courtroom to prosecute the Flynts.”

Painter also noted that the 1999 deal fined the corporation, not the individuals.

“The corporation was found guilty and paid a fine, and the case was then over against the corporation as well,” he wrote.

Friday’s decision doesn’t preclude another legal fight with the Flynts because prosecutors could seek new indictments based on the videos the store sold last year to police.

The case is Larry Flynt and Jimmy Flynt vs. Judge Patrick T. Dinkelacker, Nos. C-030537, C-030538.