By Jordan Cohen
The defendant will appeal his conviction.
NILES — Robert Leonard, owner of McMenamy’s on Youngstown-Warren Road, was fined $25 Friday for violating the city noise ordinance, but the money is not the issue for him. The constitutionality of the ordinance is.
Leonard, the only business owner convicted thus far of violating the ordinance, was fined by municipal Judge Thomas Townley for what is technically a minor misdemeanor. The judge agreed to stay the sentence after Leonard’s attorney said he planned to appeal.
“We believe this ordinance is unconstitutional because it is vague, overly broad and was enacted because of the actions of one citizen who pushed for [it],” said Atty. Patrick Perry, counsel for Leonard. “From the outset, it’s been forced on my client.”
Perry said he will file with the 11th District Court of Appeals within 28 days.
City council revised the ordinance last April after hearing complaints for several months from several residents about noise from live concerts at McMenamy’s. Leonard was cited one month later.
During Leonard’s hearing last October, the officer who cited the owner, Lt. David Smathers, admitted during Perry’s cross-examination that the noise didn’t bother him but annoyed others.
“That’s why we’re contesting on a factual basis,” Perry said. “The officer did not find the noise annoying, and none of the people who called in to complain that night would leave their names.”
At the time of the citation, McMenamy’s was hosting a concert on behalf of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The ordinance contains an exception for such charity events but only until midnight. Leonard’s citation was issued after midnight.
Leonard declined to comment further.