thats a sweet deal!
Ore. high court rules live sex shows should be allowed
10:21 AM PDT on Thursday, September 29, 2005
By CHARLES E. BEGGS, Associated Press Writer
SALEM -- The Oregon Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Thursday a state law against conducting live sex shows and a local ordinance regulating conduct of nude dancers.
Both restrictions violate the Oregon Constitution's guarantees of free speech and free expression, the court said in a pair of 5-1 decisions.
The free expression rulings continued the court's modern pattern of broadly interpreting state constitutional rights as forbidding virtually all regulation of obscenity.
The state constitution, adopted in 1859 says, "No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write or print freely on any subject whatever."
Justice Michael Gillette, who wrote the majority opinions in both cases, said it "appears to us to be beyond reasonable dispute that the protection extends to the kinds of expression that a majority of citizens in many communities would dislike -- and even to physical acts, such as nude dancing or other explicit sexual conduct that have an expressive component."
One ruling involved the owner of a Roseburg adult business featuring live sex performances in private rooms.
Charles Ciancanelli was convicted of the crime of promoting a live sex show after undercover police paid women to perform sexual activities while the officers watched in the "performance rooms" at the business, called Angels.
The Supreme Court tossed out that conviction although it did affirm Ciancanelli's conviction of promoting prostitution.
The high court's other ruling overturned an ordinance in the city of Nyssa that required performers to stay at least four feet away from patrons at nude dancing clubs.
Owners of "Miss Sally's Gentlemen's Club" in the small Eastern Oregon town were fined $185 each for violating the ordinance.
Religious conservatives, neighborhood groups and local officials have complained that the Supreme Court's rulings have led to a thriving sex industry in Oregon.
But voters three times have rejected ballot measures that would have restricted the adult entertainment industry, most recently in 2000 when a measure to allow zoning of sex shops was defeated.
Both rulings on the sex show laws reversed the Oregon Court of Appeals.
The lower court, in split decisions, contended that bans on sexual performances should be considered valid as "historical exceptions" to free speech rights because there were restrictions on public nudity and sexual conduct when the constitution was adopted.
Supreme Court Justice Paul De Muniz dissented from both of Thursday's decisions.
De Muniz said he could not conclude that "masturbation and sexual intercourse in a `live public show' " is a form of speech that the drafters of the Oregon Constitution sought to protect.
He said he disagreed with the idea that "regulation of public sex acts must stop at the theater door