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Dispute making a return to court - Bowling Green Daily News: Local

Dispute making a return to court

Bar owner’s attorney says decision on pole dancing based on flawed state law

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:00 am | Updated: 12:04 pm, Wed Dec 10, 2014.

The contention that the U.S. Constitution was violated by a Kentucky law that allowed Logan County to deny paid pole dancing will be discussed in court Monday.

Initially, Logan Circuit Judge Tyler Gill was to begin a bench hearing in the case filed on behalf of Sheila Haley, owner of Tenn-Tucky State Line Bar, which was denied an entertainment permit.

After an amended appeal was filed, attorneys on both sides are expected to further discuss the case and lay out a timeline for filings instead.

Bowling Green attorney Alan Simpson, who represents Haley, says parts of the state statute – KRS 231, which governs the permitting of places of entertainment and dictates how to appeal the denial of an entertainment permit – violates both the state and U.S. constitutions, specifically the equal protection clauses in both constitutions.

The First Amendment, which among other things guarantees the freedom of expression from government interference, and the 14th Amendment, which broadly protects civil rights, are being violated, Simpson contends.

Simpson filed the appeal on behalf of Haley after Logan County Judge-Executive Logan Chick denied Haley a permit to pay bikini-clad pole dancers at the bar.

Logan County Attorney Joe Ross said Chick was within his rights to deny an entertainment permit that would have allowed Haley to pay her dancers.

Not having a permit doesn’t stop women from pole dancing; it just prevents them from getting paid.

Ross’ short response to Simpson’s filing generally denies the allegations of unconstitutionality and asks that the complaint be dismissed and Chick’s order be upheld.

Ross said he expects Gill will allow them to file briefs in the case before having any oral arguments. “It will be more helpful when (Simpson) files a brief to determine how to respond to the constitutional arguments,” Ross said.

On Friday, Simpson filed more court documents that did further delineate his position, which claims violations of the freedom of expression and right to due process constitutional amendments, but Ross had not yet responded to them.

“There are just so many problems with this statute,” Simpson said. “It’s extremely vague ... that the average person can’t understand it.”

And when that occurs, it should be deemed unconstitutional, he said.

Simpson said the only thing the state law really outlines is who should be denied an entertainment permit: someone who is not of good moral character or who would not follow the law.

“If the statute isn’t declared unconstitutional, then the county judge didn’t follow the law,” he said.

Simpson said he also takes issue with the fact that if Haley had been operating her business within the city limits of nearby Adairville, she could have had paid pole dancing without an entertainment permit. The permit is only required outside city limits.

In his position paper, Simpson further urges Gill to have a full trial, which would involve the presentation of evidence before the court, rather than just oral arguments.

Welcome to the discussion.