May It Please The Court

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Quote of the Day - I never said to anyone that there were strippers there. It was a lingerie show done for Valentine's Day gifts. - Julius Patterson
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Nude Dancing A Protected Form Of Art, Iowa Court Rules

Some will agree with that statement, and some won't.  I suspect it the degree of your agreement is directly related to your gender, but that's just a guess.  Since we're a legal establishment here, let's set the ground rules first, and then we'll cover the facts of this ... ah ... case.  You thought I was going to say "titillating," didn't you?  Here is Iowa's public indecency law, straight from Chapter 79, 81, § 728.5 of the Iowa statutes (hint here:  you can skip right to the exception at the end of the statute):

"728.5  Public indecent exposure in certain establishments.

An owner, manager, or person who exercises direct control over a place of business required to obtain a sales tax permit shall be guilty of a serious misdemeanor under any of the following circumstances:

1.  If such person allows or permits the actual or simulated public performance of any sex act upon or in such place of business.

2.  If such person allows or permits the exposure of the genitals or buttocks or female breast of any person who acts as a waiter or waitress.

3.  If such person allows or permits the exposure of the genitals or female breast nipple of any person who acts as an entertainer, whether or not the owner of the place of business in which the activity is performed employs or pays any compensation to such person to perform such activity.

4.  If such person allows or permits any person to remain in or upon the place of business who exposes to public view the person's genitals, pubic hair, or anus.

5.  If such person advertises that any activity prohibited by this section is allowed or permitted in such place of business.

6.  If such person allows or permits a minor to engage in or otherwise perform in a live act intended to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires or appeal to the prurient interests of patrons. However, if such person allows or permits a minor to participate in any act included in subsections 1 through 4, the person shall be guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to a theater, concert hall, art center, museum, or similar establishment which is primarily devoted to the arts or theatrical performances and in which any of the circumstances contained in this section were permitted or allowed as part of such art exhibits or performances."

In the small town of Hamburg, just north of Nebraska and the Missouri river, there's .... ah ... dancing establishment (a.k.a. theater) called Shotgun Geniez owned by Clarence Judy.  Earlier last month on July 17, 2008, a group of young women went to the theater and one in particular got swept up in the dancing, jumped up on the stage and stripped.

Trouble was, she was only seventeen (just a few days short of her 18th birthday, actually) and Sheriff Steven MacDonald's niece.  That last piece of identifying information landed the owner of Shotgun Geniez in court before District Court Judge Timothy O'Grady, who heard the case in a one-day trial on July 21st.  On Friday, August 1, Judge O'Grady ruled that the prosecutor failed to prove the club wasn't a theater.

The DA, Fremont County Attorney Margaret Johnson, says she'll take the judge's decision to the Iowa Court of Appeals and perhaps all the way the Iowa Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the law and apply it statewide.

Maybe she'd have better luck in Santiago, Chile prosecuting "La diosa del Metro" (the "Subway Goddess"), a 26-year old woman who was arrested after performing stripteases on poles in subway cars to protest that country's prudish ways. 

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, August 04, 2008 at 12:20 Comments (0)


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