November 10, 1999 12:00pm
Officials Ogling Topless Law
Source: FreeSpeech X-press
by: Kat Sunlove
(ARIZONA) -- Issues such as how close dancers should be to patrons, or what kind of touching should be allowed in adult nightclubs are giving fits to state investigators trying to enforce Arizona's vague laws, and the questions are also the subject of a federal lawsuit.
The solution, said Howard Adams, director of the Dept. of Liquor Licenses and Control, is a new law that would keep erotic dancers off of customers' tables and laps and confine them to stages.
"Having trained investigators spend their time trying to decide if a dancer is too close to a patron, if he is touching her where he shouldn't be touching her ... is absurd," Adams said. [That's what we've said all along! Go find some REAL crime.]
Last November, J. Michael Murray, a Cleveland attorney representing four Arizona topless bars, filed a federal-court motion for a preliminary injunction against Adams and the state. The motion, which will be heard this January, contends that the dancing is protected by the First Amendment, "just as the Constitution protects freedom of expression in all entertainment," said Murray.
Murray said the suit was spurred, in part, by repeated citations issued for allegedly inappropriate touching between dancers and patrons. Richard O'Neill, owner of three of the clubs involved, said he'd fight the restrictions, saying that his dancers never get too close.
"Why doesn't Mr. Adams go to any nightclub in town and watch the people slowdancing at the end of the evening," O'Neill said. "Then he'd really see something!"
From an article by William Hermann for The Arizona Republic 11/10/99