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November 04, 2001 10:50am
Free Speech Coalition Chapter Champions First Amendment Before Maryland High Court (1)
Source: Marks & Katz, LLC
by: Company Press Release

(SILVER SPRING, MD) -- The Free Speech Coalition of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, a chapter of the national Free Speech Coalition, Inc., has urged the Maryland Court of Appeals to strike down Howard County's adult entertainment zoning ordinance as violating The First Amendment. Over the objections of Howard County, the court has granted the group friend of the court status in the case of The Pack Shack v. Howard County.

The FSC of DC, MD and VA's friend of the court brief argues that The Howard County adult entertainment zoning ordinance violates the First Amendment by forcing adult retailers, cabarets and other adult businesses to locate into a small number of designated zones that do not provide enough economically feasible locations for current and future businesses.

The brief also argues that Howard County's zoning code unconstitutionally censors adult businesses' First Amendment rights to free expression by improperly focusing on the content of their products. The group rejects Howard County's claim that the ordinance merely seeks to prevent negative secondary effects of adult businesses on crime, real estate values and quality of life. New evidence shows that criminal activity does not necessarily increase in the presence of adult entertainment businesses.

The brief also argues that Howard County has failed to follow the Supreme Court's prohibition on regulating against negative Secondary effects without reasonably relying on relevant and scientifically accurate studies.

In this appeal, First Amendment Attorneys Jonathan L. Katz of Silver Spring, Maryland, and David A. Wasserman of Winter Park, Florida represent the group.

The full text of the group's amicus brief is at http://www.capitalfsc.org/documents/PACK%20SHACK%20appeal.pdf.

The Free Speech Coalition of the District of Columbia, Maryland And Virginia is a chapter of the Free Speech Coalition, Inc. Its mission is to educate, lobby and support litigation to further the understanding and acceptance of the meaning of the First and Fourth Amendments in general and as they regard adult materials in particular.

For Further Information, Contact:
Jonathan L. Katz, President
Free Speech Coalition of the District of Columbia, Maryland and

1400 Spring Street, Suite 410
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 495-4300

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