Omaha Judge Gave Jail Sentence for
Selling Porn, but Just a Fine for Child Abuse

        In 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 convicted.
     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.

      In 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.

      Judge 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 2002, Judge Edna Atkins ruled that Omaha laws used against people who expose themselves in public are vague and therefore unconstitutional. (A higher court overturned her ruling a couple of months later.) The law Judge Atkins deemed vague and therefore unconstitutional prohibits lewd acts in public which are defined as "any act of a sexual nature which is offensive to the average person of a group which is intended or likely to observe it." Yet in her instructions to the jury in the Doctor John's porn case, one of the things she stated that determines if a video is illegal or not is if it depicts sexual activity in a manner offensive under local community standards (the obscenity law). Why is the law used 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 Herald, 4/15/2000.

"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.

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