U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Ala. Sex Toy Ban Case

Anne Winter
LAS VEGAS — Adult shop owner Sherri Williams has told XBIZ that the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear her case challenging Alabama's sex toy ban, ending an almost 10-year fight against the law.

The sale of adult toys is now been deemed officially illegal in the state, she said.

"The next step for me is they'll arrest me and put me in jail," Williams said, adding that each offense could bring her a year of hard labor.

"I guess [it] will be a very long time because I have probably 4,900 offenses in my store,' Williams said.

Williams said that in hopes to avoid being prosecuted to the full extent, she has decided to file another lawsuit challenging the validity of Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys and will hire a 1st Amendment lawyer to do so.

Alabama law states that adult toys may be sold legally for medical, educational and artistic purposes — not for self-gratification — but the law also states that it is against the law to advertise them.

"How can you sell something you can't advertise?" Williams said.

Now Williams said she will wait to see if the state attorney general will decide to postpone prosecution while her new lawsuit is pending, or put her in jail and require she file the suit in prison.

"Because they gave absolutely no guidance whatsoever when they passed this law," Williams said, "now they have to scramble to figure out how to enforce it, and I don't foresee they'll be able to figure that out in the next 30 days."

Williams said she found out about the court's decision today at 9 a.m. and has called a press conference to relay the news while at the International Lingerie Show in the Rio Suites Hotel.

Williams first challenged the law in 1998, claiming it violated a slew of civil rights, and a year later it was found unconstitutional by a federal trial judge. However, an 11th Circuit panel said Alabama can police the sale of "any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs."

A recent decision made by the 11th Circuit panel held that "public morality remains a legitimate rational basis for the challenged legislation," and once again deemed the ban constitutional.

Williams current attorneys, Roger Wilcox and Paul Cambria of New York law firm Lipsitz, Green, Scime, Cambria, were unavailable for comment at press time.