BROOKHAVEN, Ga. Sex toy store owner Michael Morrison last week was sentenced to six months incarceration and ordered to pay more than $863,000 in fines after a judge found him in contempt of court multiple times. Morrison, who operates Stardust Adult Stores, has been involved in a protracted legal battle with the city of Brookhaven after it adopted a law in 2013 making it illegal to operate a sexually oriented business near a similar business or a residential district. Against the ordinance, Stardust opened a single store that year across the street from an apartment complex and next to the Pink Pony strip club on Buford Highway in the North Atlanta city of Brookhaven. That ordinance provides where a sexually oriented business can operate not within 100 feet of another SOB and not within 300 feet of a residential property or a house of worship and how they can operate (the number of sex toy items displayed for sale at any one time). The city of Brookhaven, in its argument before DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott, said that Stardust violated all three restrictions by operating next door to the Pink Pony, across the street from residential properties and displaying hundreds of sexual devices for sale in its store. Brookhaven’s attorneys noted in arguments that there are at least 73 locations in town where a sex toy shop such as Stardust can do business. Scott, in his contempt order sentencing Morrison to six months incarceration, also mandated that Stardusts building be padlocked if Morrison does not pay $863,000 in fees to the city. This is now the fourth time that the court has found Morrisons operation of Stardust to be illegal, Scott wrote in his ruling, noting that on appeal the ordinance has been upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court (twice) and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Stardust, since its opening in 2013, has gone down a rough road with the city. In 2014, the city brought a 255-count accusation against Stardust for violating the citys code. In 2017, city officials fined the retailer $210,000 because it displayed at least 1,000 sexual devices without having a SOB permit. Stardust in 2016 countered with its own federal lawsuit against the city; however a judge dismissed that lawsuit. The store is affiliated with Tokyo Valentino, a chain of sex toy stores in Atlanta; Gwinnett, Ga., and Marietta, Ga. Stardust and Morrison are represented by Cary Wiggins, a First Amendment attorney, in the case. Wiggins wasnt available for AVN comment by post time.
written by: Rhett Pardon