Court rules in favor of strip club in case
The decision called the regulations constitutional.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a strip club's claim that a suburban township's ordinance regulating and licensing cabaret-style nightclubs that feature adult entertainment is unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in the club's favor in 2003, saying Union Township's 1999 ordinance was an illegal prior restraint on freedom of expression because it failed to allow for prompt judicial review of an adverse licensing decision. The three-judge panel also ruled the ordinance was unconstitutional in limiting adult cabarets that lack liquor licenses to fewer hours of operation than those with liquor licenses.
The full court then agreed to reconsider whether the ordinance was unconstitutional.
Deja Vu of Cincinnati LLC operates the club, which offers nude dancing but does not have a liquor license.
In Tuesday's ruling, the full court rejected Deja Vu's argument that the ordinance is an illegal prior restraint because it provides for temporary permits pending an appeal of an adverse licensing decision. The decision sends the case back to U.S. District Court.
The full court also rejected Deja Vu's claim that the hours-of-operation provision was unconstitutional because it allows adult cabarets that serve alcohol to stay open later. The court said that the township can act to alleviate harmful secondary effects of adult cabarets.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Eric Clay concluded that the ordinance was unconstitutional because it does not provide for judicial review of a a significant number of adverse licensing decisions and therefore constitutes a prior restraint on freedom of expression. He also concluded that the hours-of-operation provision is unconstitutional.
Attorney General Jim Petro said Tuesday that the ruling was a victory for family values. Petro had joined with Union Township to defend the ordinance and a state law that authorized it.
"This victory gives communities another tool to minimize the harms these businesses cause," Petro said in a statement.
Deja Vu's attorneys, H. Louis Sirkin and Martin Pinales, could not be reached for comment.
A woman answering the phone at the strip club referred all calls to the attorneys.
A message seeking comment from Union Township trustees was left at township offices.