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September 28, 2003 04:00am
Marks & Katz's Joint Amicus Brief Advances Winning First Amendment Argument
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Jon Katz

Marks & Katz, LLC's joint amicus curiae appellate brief with co-counsel David A. Wasserman has advanced a winning First Amendment argument before Maryland's highest court. This appellate victory -- which took over nineteen months from oral argument to written decision -- is Pack Shack v. Howard County, Maryland, MD. No. 55, September Term, 2001, 2003 MD. Lexis 544 (Sept. 10, 2003). The opinion is at Courts.State.MD.us/opinions/coa/2003/55a01.pdf.

In this stunning vindication of First Amendment rights, the Maryland Court of Appeals rejected Howard County, Maryland's backdoor attempt to keep out adult entertainment businesses through its ordinance that left a minuscule number of sites available for the location of current and future adult businesses. The court grabbed onto our joint amicus brief's argument that the ordinance unconstitutionally required the disclosure of the identities of too many owners and financially interested parties in proposed and existing adult businesses. Our joint amicus brief was the only brief against the ordinance to address this issue head on, to the point that the concurring opinion found that the "clearest statement of this issue is located in the Amicus brief filed by [our client] Free Speech Coalition of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia."

Like most First Amendment free expression victories, the benefits of this court ruling go far beyond adult entertainment to benefit a whole host of other expressive activities, including political activists' rights, the entire entertainment industries' rights, and public school students' expressive rights.

Our law firm's joint amicus brief with co-counsel David A. Wasserman is at MarksKatz.com/Adult.htm. Marks & Katz, LLC. Partner Jon Katz is also the President of our amicus client, the Free Speech Coalition of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

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