The Recording Industry Assn. of America is hailing a Virginia county grand jury’s decision not to prosecute a record store owner accused of selling Ice-T’s “Body Count” to a minor.

Victor Vanover, owner of Vette Records in Abingdon, Va., was originally charged with violating Virginia’s obscenity statute by selling the Ice-T recording.

In September, a Washington County, Va., prosecutor decided instead to seek an indictment based on a “harmful to minors” charge.

After hearing the case last week, however, a grand jury refused to hand down an indictment. Vanover contended that he never had Ice-T tape in stock at the time, since Time-Warner had pulled the recording from the shelves.

RIAA prez Jay Berman said he is “delighted” by the grand jury decision. “This decision further supports RIAA’s contention that matters of artistic taste and merit should be left to individuals, not the state,” said Berman.

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