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Strip club liquor ban unconstitutional, 4th Circuit affirms

A Maryland law that allowed Prince George’s County to ban liquor sales at strip clubs based on the performers’ conduct and attire is unconstitutional, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held Thursday.

The 2-1 decision affirms a federal judge’s injunction against enforcing the 2005 law, which was challenged by Legend Night Club and Classic III Supper Club.

An attorney for the clubs, Jimmy A. Bell, told The Associated Press that the Maryland law was so restrictive it would have essentially outlawed adult entertainment.

While the one dissenting judge said the unconstitutional provisions could be “carved out,” the majority said it was reluctant to rewrite the law — particularly given the General Assembly’s inaction since the injunction was first issued.

A 2007 preliminary injunction lasted until the 2009 trial, after which U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis made it permanent.

Garbis also struck down an exemption that would have benefited the Ebony Inn, owned by former state Sen. Thomas “Tommie” Broadwater Jr., D-Prince George’s. Since the 4th Circuit banned all enforcement of the law, it declined to review the exemption.

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