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Afederal appeals court opened a case this week on an Ocean City, Maryland, emergency ordinance passed in 2017 that prohibited women from going topless on beaches while men were still allowed to go shirtless in the same areas.
Five town residents then posed a legal challenge to the ban, arguing it was unconstitutional.
A civil suit filed in a U.S. District Court in 2018 was dismissed in April 2020 when the court ruled that city officials have a better understanding of the public’s moral “sensibilities” than residents and visitors.
U.S. v. Biocic of 1989, in which the court found no right to public nudity, was a similar case that was used as a precedent for the court ruling.
After the lower court’s dismissal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit opened the case this week for review and oral arguments.
“This lawsuit is about confirming the legal right of women to be bare-chested in public in the same places that men are permitted to be bare-chested, for purposes other than breastfeeding,” plaintiff attorney Devon Jacob said in opening arguments. “This lawsuit seeks a declaration from the court that Ocean City’s ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the federal Constitution.”
Jacob argued that protecting the public’s moral sensibilities “permits a sexist ideology to be cloaked in legitimacy in the same way that nationalism legitimizes racism.”
He also told the court it’s time for the Biocic case from three decades ago to be overturned, according to the Maryland Coast Dispatch.
Ocean City’s attorney, Bruce F. Bright, said the ordinance is “not a regulation of sexual choices or behavior.”
“This is a regulation of public nudity and whether it should still be defined as exposure of the female breast,” he also said.
The judge who upheld the ban last year said that it is the government’s objective to protect the public from displays of areas traditionally considered erogenous zones, citing female but not male breasts.
Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory expressed skepticism during the Wednesday hearing about the town’s rationale for the ban and extent of public concerns over topless sunbathing.
He also asked how many calls town officials received complaining about the possibility of women baring their chests and pointed out the ordinance was passed after an inquiry to police about what would happen if women “expressed their freedom in this manner on the beach,” The Washington Post reported.
BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Granted Release From Jail During Appeal For Hate Crime Hoax Conviction
On Monday, Jussie Smollett’s lawyers demanded the actor be released from prison after he and his family received “vicious threats” that supposedly raised concern for Smollett’s safety while in jail. This request was granted on Wednesday, allowing Smollett to be released from jail on bond while his lawyers appeal his conviction for staging a hate crime and lying to the police about it.
Back in December, Smollett, 39, was found guilty on five felony counts of disorderly conduct. Last week, the disgraced actor was sentenced to 150 days in jail, restitution to the city of Chicago of $120,106, and a $25,000 fine.
During his sentencing, Smollett claimed that he was not suicidal and that if he dies while in jail, it will be the result of foul play. He also maintained his innocence during his sentencing despite the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence against him.
“Your honor, I respect you, and I respect your decision,” said Smollett,” but I did not do this, and I am not suicidal. If anything happens to me when I go in there, I did not do it to myself, and you must all know that.”
Only days after being sent to the Cook County Jail, Smollett was placed in the psych ward, which prison officials claimed is standard policy for high profile criminals.
Smollett’s attorneys had insisted that he could be in danger of physical harm if he remained imprisoned at Cook County Jail, claiming their client was the target of “vicious threats”.
“Mr. Smollett has become the target of vicious threats in the social media forums which no doubt reflects the hatred and wish for physical harm towards Smollett which he may experience during incarceration,” the lawyers’ filing said.
Smollett’s brother has reportedly been “bombarded” with threatening phone calls, and the rest of the family has also received threats.
“Mr. Smollett anticipates he will most likely be assigned to segregated incarceration or protective custody, both euphemisms for solitary confinement; a situation which could have extraordinary damage on his mental health,” continued the filing. “As a result, any custodial setting poses a safety and health danger to the life of Mr. Smollett.”
Apparently, damage to a prisoner’s mental health is of the utmost importance in prison now. Jail, of course, is known to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Regardless, since he was convicted of ‘non-violent” offenses, the court is allowing Smollett to be released from Cook County Jail on a $150,000 recognizance bond, which only has to be paid if he misses a court date.
VIDEO: Kim Potter Only sentenced to 16 months in prison for 1st Degree Manslaughter
Extreme Leniency: Kim Potter was just sentenced to 24 months (2 years) in prison with credit for 8 months time served, meaning her sentence is 16 months.
Judge Regina Chu said that this was the case of a “cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm thinking it was a Taser and ended up killing a young man.”
The court approved a downward departure from the typical sentence, as Chu said Potter never intended to use her firearm and the scene painted as chaotic. (guy sitting in car)
By Minnesota law, Potter was sentenced only on the higher charge of first-degree manslaughter. The maximum charge is 15 years, but for someone with no criminal history like Potter, guidelines range from between six and eight-and-a-half years.
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