Friday, March 26, 1999

Lap dancing ban
can be enforced

A judge says the city law
regulates sexual touching, rather
than expressive content

By Rod Ohira


A Circuit judge has cleared the way for enforcing a ban on nude lap dancing in Honolulu.

Citing Hawaii case law, Judge Marie Milks has ruled that a city ordinance passed in May 1998 "regulates the unprotected conduct of commercialized sexual touching" and not the expressive content of lap dancing.

The decision goes against Jerry Adamany, owner of Fantasy Island Showgirls, who filed for an injunction last June.

David Gierlach, Adamany's attorney, said Milks' decision on Wednesday was not a surprise.

"The (Hawaii) Supreme Court pretty much killed lap dancing in this town in State vs. Richie," Gierlach said. "When we filed for the injunction, the court had not yet addressed the Richie case."

In June 1998, the high court ruled that touching a person's sexual parts through clothing for a fee constitutes prostitution. The ruling was in response to Carl Richie's appeal on convictions of second-degree promotion of prostitution.

Richie was convicted on prostitution-related charges for running a lap dancing enterprise. He was arrested after undercover officers paid him $750 to have dancers perform for them in a 1995 Kauai sting operation.

Gierlach said the city ordinance is very specific toward lap dancing but not other entertainment activities.

"I think you're likely to see other forms of adult entertainment that fall outside of lap dancing," Gierlach said.

Councilman Andy Mirikitani, who introduced the ordinance, says the decision gives Honolulu the green light to crack down on nude lap-dancing clubs.

"This is a victory for all family neighborhoods and protects minors from entering these nude strip clubs," Mirikitani said.

"The clubs were skirting the law by not selling alcohol yet virtually all the nude lap-dancing clubs in Honolulu are connected to nude strip and liquor serving bars."

The law prohibits:

Admission of anyone under 21 years of age to nude lap-dancing clubs.

Nude dancers from touching or sitting on customers' laps or any other form of sexual contact between lap dancers and customers.

Lap-dancing clubs from being attached or located next to any liquor establishment such as strip clubs and hostess bars.

Doors, partitions, curtains or screens from lap dancing rooms.

The law also requires the posting of a notice at the entrance prohibiting minors and stating the penalties for violations, and establishes fines for violations enforced by police.

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