Monday, September 20, 2010

Sexy Baristas, Illegal in Yakima. Wa.--Anatomical Benchmarks and Such

The Yakima Herald-Republic  is reporting on the misdemeanor citations going to trial against a local coffee shop and a barista who was cited after being caught attired in a G-string and , . . . well, . . . um, nothing else. This is local reporter Chris Bristol's story:

"[Municipal Court Judge Susan Woodward]  turned away a constitutional challenge to Yakima's 2009 indecent exposure ordinance and ordered the owner of Dream Girls coffee stand to prepare for trial.  JudgeWoodard said she's studied case law on the subject and, despite concerns the case could go far on appeal, is convinced the ordinance does not violate free speech protections accorded nude or erotic dancing.

'I don't see the similarities between serving coffee ... and erotic dancing,' she said.

Dream Girls owner Cheryl Clark is fighting the ordinance in Municipal Court. In January, she was cited for violating the ordinance after one of her baristas was caught wearing a G-string -- and nothing to cover it -- on the job. The barista was also cited.

In a pretrial hearing, defense attorneys for Clark and barista Alyssa Hernandez argued the city's ordinance is too vague and therefore unconstitutional because it invites arbitrary enforcement.  At issue are some of the definitions underlying aspects of the ordinance, particularly terms like G-strings, thongs, buttocks and a corresponding one-third coverage area that is required.

Clark's attorney, Pat True, lashed out at the City Council's decision to bolster an existing indecent ordinance last year as a 'direct attack' on coffee stands like Dream Girls.  He argued that a reasonable person would have trouble figuring out if their attire violated the law and wondered aloud why police are not sending 'thong patrols to swimming pools.'  The ordinance is too vague and 'absolutely leaves open the potential for arbitrary enforcement,' which is unconstitutional, he said [ . . . ]

Assistant City Attorney Jon Seitz told the court the city's ordinance mirrors a law in Daytona Beach, Fla., that has withstood challenge and that the one-third coverage area is based on precise 'anatomical benchmarks.  Just because it's complex doesn't mean it's vague,' he said."
I guess this business model works if you're only serving decaf.

1 comment:

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