Thursday, August 30, 2007

More on Wyandotte County

Grand jury indicts three businesses

Kansas City Star Wed. Aug. 29th

A Wyandotte County grand jury investigating obscenity handed down indictments against three Kansas City, Kan. shops, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

M&M Inc., a convenience store at 8535 State Ave.; Krishna U.S.A., doing business as Smoke Easy Cigarette Outlet, 6000 Leavenworth Road; and Lakhani Commercial Corp., doing business as the Stop ’n’ Go, 954 State Ave., were named in the indictments.

M&M Inc. is charged with a single misdemeanor count of promoting obscenity. Smoke Easy is charged with two misdemeanor counts of promoting obscenity and one felony and one misdemeanor count of possession with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia. The Stop ’n’ Go was charged with a single count of possession with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia.

The indictments came as the result of a citizen petition drive that called for grand jury investigations into promotion of obscenity by 32 businesses, including strip clubs, sex shops and video rental stores throughout six metropolitan area counties.

None of the businesses included in the charges announced Wednesday was among the 32 targeted by the petitions.

The Kansas City Chapter of National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, an anti-pornography group, led the petition effort, backed by a legion of churches and religious groups.

A grand jury also was convened in Johnson County to address the issue. It has not handed down indictments on obscenity cases yet but has weighed in on other cases.

The grand jury in Wyandotte County is thought to be the first in 40 years. The one in Johnson County is the first since 1989. Although Missouri law does not require a grand jury to be convened because of citizen petitions, Clay County also has consented to bring the cases to a grand jury.

Jurors in the three counties will make judgments that will essentially set the standards for obscenity for their Kansas communities, legal observers say.

The use of a grand jury is seen as controversial to those who say that judges are better qualified to decide who should stand trial and that defendants should have the right to hear the evidence against them. Grand juries listen to cases in confidence.

Others say that the grand jury is a helpful prosecutorial tool that should be used more often.

All three indicted businesses are scheduled to appear on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. in District Court for a pretrial conference.

To reach Joyce Tsai, call 816-234-4415 or send e-mail to



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