Fla. Strip Club Prepared to Take Case to Supreme Court

Q Boyer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Attorneys for Lollipops Gentlemen’s Club in Daytona Beach said Thursday that they are prepared to take their challenge to the city’s anti-nudity ordinance to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’ve already prepared a jurisdictional brief for the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Brett Hartley, an attorney for Lollipops, according to the Daytona News-Journal.

Representatives of the city said they are ready to make their case in front of the nation’s highest court, as well.

“If they file a petition in the Supreme Court, we will certainly respond,” Assistant City Attorney Marie Hartman said Thursday.

Earlier in the case, a district court struck down the city’s anti-nudity ordinance, holding that the ordinance “did not further the substantial government interest in reducing negative secondary effects associated with adult theaters.” A panel of judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the lower court’s ruling, and earlier this week the 11th Circuit denied Lollipops’ request for a rehearing in front of the full court.

As the legal battle moves on to its next step, Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said his department is prepared to begin enforcement of the city’s anti-nudity ordinance, and soon will send out a letter to local clubs warning them that enforcement is about to begin. Chitwood that enforcement would follow closely on the heels of notifying the clubs.

“Once that letter goes out, we’ll be right behind it,” Chitwood said Thursday, adding that enforcement likely will begin “before the month’s out.”

Under the ordinance, dancers at any club that sells alcohol — or who work at a club that is located within 500 feet of another business that sells alcohol — must wear modest bikinis at a minimum and cannot perform topless or nude.

After the 11th Circuit’s ruling earlier this summer, Hartley told XBIZ that he thought the appeals court’s decision was “clearly wrong on several issues.”

“The city has to show some connectivity between clubs and the supposed ‘negative secondary effects’ that their ordinances are supposed to mitigate,” Hartley said. “The court found that all a city has to show is that it ‘reasonably believes’ that adult entertainment businesses cause these negative secondary effects. Well, [under the court’s standard in this decision], I can ‘reasonably believe’ that Santa Claus exists, or ‘reasonably believe’ that there is such a thing as the Tooth Fairy.”

Regardless of how the courts eventually rule in the case, Hartley said he found the city’s secondary effects arguments less than persuasive.

“The notion that the proximity of a naked breast to an alcoholic drink is somehow going to cause crime is just retarded,” Hartley said.