Hattiesburg Defends Fortune-Telling Ban

October 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Mississippi Flag

Mississippi Flag

In September, I wrote about Tommy and Marie Costello’s suit against the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

They argued that the fortune-telling ban that forced them to shut down their business last December is an illegal restraint on their rights to free speech and due process per the US and Mississippi constitutions.

Last week, the city responded with their answer, claiming that the present law does not violate US or state constitutions.

They also contend that in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of their city, Hattiesburg has a legitimate interest in regulating, or in this case outlawing, psychic businesses.

This sounds a lot like the argument made by Chesterfield County, Virginia a few weeks ago.

In that case, the Virginia Federal District Court upheld the right of Chesterfield to heavily regulate what they describe as ‘fortune-telling’.

It flies in the face, however, of the 2010 decision by the Maryland High Court that prohibitions on such businesses are in fact violations of the federal constitution.

It’ll be interesting to see how the courts decide. As might be expected, I’m rooting for free speech.

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Fortune-telling Ban Challenged in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

September 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

State of Mississippi State Seal

Mississippi State Seal

Last week, Tommy and Marie Costello filed suit in U.S. District Court against Hattiesburg, Mississippi, claiming its fortune-telling ban is illegal.

The couple was issued a notice of violation on December 29th of last year for their business, Marie – Psychic Reader.

Though they went ahead and closed down their shop, they feel that the law against fortune-telling is illegal censorship, and in violation of both the U.S. and Mississippi constitutions.

Further, they claim that their rights to due process have been violated, and that their ability to discuss their skills and to advertise their professional services have been silenced.

The Costellos seek a declaration that the city ordinance is illegal prior restraint of free speech, an injunction requiring repeal of the ordinance, and unspecified damages.

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