Saturday, July 14, 2018

Stripper/activist Daniels arrested in police sting

Stormy Daniels Was Arrested Because of a Terrible Law That Threatens Free Expression - - Marc Randazza:

July 13, 2018 - "Earlier this week, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she took hush money to stay quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with Donald Trump, was arrested for violating an Ohio statute that prohibits a stripper from allowing patrons to touch her if she is nude or semi-nude. The statute used against her is an example of how free expression can fall victim to zealous moralizers — and how almost any law aimed at free expression can be used to punish a political opponent....

"There's no escaping the conclusion that erotic dancing is a form of expression protected by the Bill of Rights....  [However, in]  Renton v. Playtime Theatres (1986) ... the Supreme Court said that the government can't restrict adult businesses because the government doesn't like the expression therein — but it can restrict them, using zoning regulations, because of harmful effects the businesses may cause....

"By the early 2000's, adult entertainment businesses that survived the zoning wars got hit with the 'proximity' rules. The expressed reason for these regulations was to discourage prostitution. However, anyone who has spent time in a strip club knows that you must get somewhat close to the dancer in order to tip them. Try putting a dollar in a g-string without some incidental contact. Further, some regulations went so far as to prohibit patrons from even getting near a stripper....

"Daniels was arrested under one of these laws after an extensive sting operation. Why did the State of Ohio devote a team of police officers and hours of taxpayer-funded overtime to an investigation, raid, and arrest of a woman for the grave crime of touching another person while semi-nude?

"Daniels ... is an outspoken political activist. And, it seems that she was targeted, in particular, due to her political activism. Otherwise, why was there a massive sting operation involving multiple vice detectives on that particular night, a tour Daniels had advertised well in advance? It sure wasn't because the City of Columbus was under siege by a rash of touchy strippers.

"And therein lies the deeper evil in any and all laws aimed at free expression. When you give law enforcement a tool that can be used to target someone who has unpopular views, they will use it....

"The case against Stormy was immediately dropped ... because the statute has a strange quirk wherein it does not apply to performers who do not 'regularly appear' at the particular strip club. Nevertheless, the damage is done. The law on the books restricts free expression — and now that there has been a high profile arrest, the chilling effect will be palpable."

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