DALLAS, JULY 27 -- Dallas County prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges today against two retailers for selling to minors a controversial rap album by the 2 Live Crew.
Sound Warehouse Inc. of Dallas faces eight charges and a possible $80,000 fine for selling the album. Hasting's Records and Tapes, based in Amarillo, faces one charge and a possible $10,000 fine. If convicted, the companies also could be forced to publicize the fact that they were found guilty of selling obscene material, according to state law.
Specifically, the retailers are accused of violating a state law prohibiting the "sale, distribution or display of harmful material to a minor."
On June 6, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the lyrics of "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" are obscene. Since then, the Dallas Police Department and the district attorney's office have warned retailers not to sell the album.
In a news conference, Assistant District Attorney David Pickett said his organized crime division has studied the lyrics of the 2 Live Crew tape and deemed them "obscene as defined in the Texas Penal Code."
He said the district attorney's office sent a 13-year-old boy working undercover into the Sound Warehouse at Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane to purchase a copy of the album. The boy bought the tape with no problem, the prosecutor said.
"Hopefully, the result of this will be to get the retailers to review what they're selling to the public," Pickett said. The "average person in our community" would find the lyrics obscene, he said, adding that he believes prosecutors will have no difficulty winning convictions.
"Sound Warehouse is not aware that it carries any product which has been deemed obscene by the Dallas district attorney's office," said its president, Terry N. Worrell, in a statement. "We do not intend to carry any product determined to be obscene by the appropriate authorities in the local jurisdiction."
Officials with Hasting's declined to comment.