Judge Won't Budge on Tattoo Shop; Tempe Loses Again in Battle to Prevent Opening

Sometimes in a fight you have to know when to stay down. After losing a bid to prevent a tattoo studio from opening in Tempe, the city took its fight back to court -- and lost again.

As we mentioned on May 14, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig ruled Tempe had unlawfully revoked the business permit that had previously been granted Tom and Elizabeth Preston, the Gilbert couple who wanted to open the shop near Scottsdale Road and McKellips. These two aren't amateurs:

They've owned and run a shop in Mesa Virtual Reality Tattoos for 15 years. Fortunately for them, the Goldwater Institute viewed Tempe as a tyrant in the case and loaned out its lawyers to equalize the battlefield. The weird thing is that Tempe is practically the San Francisco of the Valley when it comes to community standards. Except for the posher south side, you can barely drive north of Baseline Road without running into a bong shop, tattoo studio or bar [which is a-okay with us, we hardly need add].

Still, some folks who lived near the planned studio were upset and rallied to stop it, so Tempe took up their cause. Yesterday, in answer to Tempe's appeal of the May decision, Oberbillig again ruled in favor of the Prestons, calling the city's yanking of the permit "arbitrary and capricious" and allowing the couple to open their shop and seek damages.

Betcha Oberbillig's got a huge Popeye tattoo under his black robes.