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This item originally appeared in the Dec. 11, 2003, issue of The Tech Talk.


Senior News Editor

After being convicted of violating the state's obscenity law, the owner and operator of an adult store in Ruston took a plea bargain Dec. 4 to avoid a possible jail sentence.

Facing three years in prison and a $2,500 fine plus court costs, Dan Birman agreed to seven stipulations, including closing Fantasy Video, located at 2799 S. Service Road W., to prevent the prison sentence.

Third Judicial District Attorney Bob Levy said he was satisfied with the result of the trial.

"It was the very best outcome that the community could hope for," Levy said.

Birman was convicted Oct. 29 after selling sexually explicit material to undercover state troopers Oct. 17.

Josh Wright, a freshman basic and career studies major, agrees with Levy and does not believe in the public sale of pornography in this area.

"There are other ways of selling pornography besides selling it where you can see [the building] from the interstate," Wright said.

When it comes to the location of the store, Tony Canizales, a freshman accounting major, has the same opinion, and said the store could be located somewhere else.

"People should have the right to have access," Canizales said.

Following his sentencing, Birman made a statement specifying that he was unhappy with the outcome.

"I'm sad to announce that due to this unjust act of censorship imposed upon me and the people of Lincoln Parish with the threat of imprisonment, I have agreed to close Fantasy Video, and with that I have unwillingly contributed to a trend of censorship that will deeply hurt the future and freedoms of the people of Lincoln Parish," Birman said.

Levy disagreed with Birman's statement.

"This case had nothing to do with censorship, but everything to do with illegal obscenity in my district," Levy said.

Birman agreed to seven stipultaions:

-- Closing and locking the doors of Fantasy Video immediately. He cannot engage in the sale, distribution or dissemination of any adult materials there and must remove any leftover inventory within five days. He must also surrender the keys.

-- Refraining from involvement in any firm operating an adult store in the 3rd Judicial District.

-- No selling, leasing, allocating or distributing of any kind of adult material brought inside the 3rd Judicial District from outside the district.

-- Removing all ads referring to the store in Lincoln Parish, including billboards within five days.

-- Removing any Internet reference to Fantasy Video in Lincoln Parish.

-- Committing no other violation of the state's obscenity law.

-- Surrendering his right to appeal this conviction.

If all terms of the agreement are met after three years of the Department of Corrections' felony probation, the state agreed to clear Birman's record of the felony conviction.

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