October 01, 1999 12:00pm
LAP-DANCING NOT PROSTITUTION
Source: Free Speech X-Press
by: Kat Sunlove
(ANAHEIM, CA) -- The City went too far in criminalizing lap dances, according to a state appellate court that dismissed a prostitution case against seven exotic dancers and their managers.
"The City of Anaheim in its zeal to discourage disfavored entertainment has crossed the line between regulation and criminalization," the 4th District Court of Appeal said last week.
The city can regulate lap-dancing establishments, but lacked jurisdiction to prosecute for violations of a "sex-oriented business permit," the appellate panel said. The city has not decided whether to appeal. "Anaheim would be better served if law enforcement concentrated instead on unsafe amusement rides," said defense lawyer Roger Jon Diamond. Jurors convicted the dancers and two managers of the Sahara Theater after 1997 performances that were videotaped by undercover officers.
The women were arrested for violating a city code prohibiting erotic touching between entertainers and patrons. A lower court judge failed to instruct the jury that it could consider exotic dancing as a form of expression protected under the First Amendment.
Such dancing, when it does not include skin-to-skin contact, "is entitled to the same protection as a D.H. Lawrence novel, a painting by Goya, a Fellini movie, or one of the Bard's plays," the court said in its 21-page ruling.
- From a Sacramento Bee article 10/1/99