April 2000 John Haltom, nicknamed "Dr. John", was convicted on
unconstitutional obscenity charges for selling porn videos from his
store Doctor John's Lingerie Boutique near 72nd and Pacific
Streets in Omaha. Even though these porn videos only
depicted consenting adults and were sold to adults for private
viewing in the home, Omaha prosecutors deemed them offensive and
charged Haltom with distributing obscene materials. The assistant
manager of the store, Daniel Bacon, was also charged and
Although it was a jury that
actually convicted Haltom and Bacon, it was up to the judge to
determine the sentence. Douglas County Judge Edna Atkins, who
presided over this case, chose to sentence Haltom to 4 months in
jail and Bacon to 1 month in jail, even though she had the option of
imposing a fine only.
November 2006, this same judge presided over a sentencing
hearing for a man who plead guilty to beating his 9 year
old son. The man, 38 year old Patrick Krause, gave his 9 year old
son a black eye, fat lip, and bruised ear because the kid
had three strikes in a baseball game. Although Judge Atkins
could have sent Krause to jail or placed him on probation, she did not. She gave Krause a
fine only. No jail, no probation, no court ordered counseling.
The fine she gave Krause was less than half of the fine she
gave Haltom in addition to the jail term.
Edna Atkins thinks that a store owner should go to jail for
selling porn to adults, but adults who commit violent acts
against children should only be fined. Like other Omaha anti-porn
crusaders, she lives by double standards.
Additionally, in May
Edna Atkins ruled that Omaha laws used against people who
themselves in public are vague and therefore
unconstitutional. (A higher court overturned her ruling a couple of months later.)
Judge Atkins deemed vague and therefore
prohibits lewd acts in public which are defined as "any act
sexual nature which is offensive to the average person of a
which is intended or likely to observe it." Yet in her
instructions to the jury in the Doctor John's porn case, one
things she stated that determines if a video is illegal
is if it depicts sexual activity in a manner offensive under
community standards (the obscenity law). Why is the
against those who expose themselves in public
vague, but the law against selling porn not vague? The law
against porn is very vague! Yet Judge Atkins had no problem
sending the owner of Doctor John's Boutique to jail based on the law
against porn. Like other Omaha anti-porn crusaders, Judge Edna
Atkins is full of shit.
Abstracts of Omaha World Herald articles are available for free here.
"Dr. John's Owner, Manager Expect April Trial for Videos" Omaha World Herald, 3/10/2000.
"Jury Says Videos Obscene" Omaha World
"Dr. John's Case Leads to Jail Time" Omaha
World Herald, 4/27/2000.
"Man Avoids Jail, Receives Fine for Hitting Son Who Struck Out" Omaha World Herald, 11/17/2006.
Mike Hendricks, "A Sad Story From Douglas
County" McCook Daily Gazette, 11/18/2006.
"Lewd Law Too Vague For Judge" Omaha World Herald, 5/17/2002.
"Judge Backs City's Rule on Lewd Conduct" Omaha World Herald, 7/30/2002.