Fortune-Telling Ban in Alexandria, LA Struck Down Again

July 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

So in a follow-up to a follow-up I did a couple of weeks ago, the ban on fortune-telling in the City of Alexandria, Louisiana has definitely been struck down.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Dee Drell concurred with the earlier opinion of U.S. Magistrate James D. Kirk that Alexandria’s ban was an unconstitutional violation of the right of free speech.

According to nola.com and the Associated Press, Drell commented in his ruling that,

“We also note with interest that the ‘art’ of fortune telling proliferates in front of St Louis Cathedral, in the City of New Orleans, apparently without incident.”

I think that Alexandria will find that they’re safe too.

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US Magistrate Rules Alexandria, Louisiana Fortune-Telling Ban Unconstitutional

July 2nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Following up on a story from last September … it looks like Rachel Adams of Alexandria, Louisiana may have won her battle against that city and its fortune-telling ban.

A little over a week ago, US Magistrate Judge James D. Kirk ruled that Alexandria’s law against fortune-telling was unconstitutional in that it infringed on the First Amendment right of free speech.

The law itself not only prohibited psychic or Tarot readings for pay, it stated that it was unlawful …

“… for any person to engage in the business or practice of palmistry, card reading, astrology, fortunetelling, phrenology, mediums or activities of a similar nature within the city, regardless of whether a fee is charged directly or indirectly, or whether the services are rendered without a charge.”

The City had argued that ‘fortune-telling’ constituted commercial speech and could thus be regulated.

As reported by The Town Talk, Judge Kirk disagreed and ruled that the law should be struck down.

“To apply the ordinance literally would outlaw every ‘amateur psychiatrist, parlor sage and barstool philosopher’ in Alexandria who dares to suggest to another what the future may hold.”

In his 10-page recommendation, Kirk went on to make some more pretty powerful points,

“This attempt at ‘alchemy’ by the city to turn content-based speech into commercial speech just doesn’t shine … “

“My use of allegory and analogy is intended to demonstrate why we cannot afford to allow government to squelch free thought and speech without a compelling interest, and why even a fortuneteller’s speech must be protected …”

“For a government to believe that it knows all that is true and real, no matter how obvious it thinks it is, is arrogance, pure and simple. Our Constitution protects us from such government oppression.”

The City has two weeks to respond with objections.

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Psychic Challenges Fortune-telling Ban in Alexandria, Louisiana

September 4th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Alexandria, Louisiana, 3rd Street

Downtown Alexandria

Rachel Adams, a psychic living in Alexandria, Louisiana, is taking her new town to court.

She’s trying to overturn a fortune-telling ban that prohibits her from operating her business, Readings by Faith.

When Adams moved to Alexandria last year, she applied for a business license to open her shop. Not only was she refused a license, she was cited by police and faced a potential $500 fine or 12 months in jail.

According to Section 15-127 of the city code, even if you’re doing it for free, psychic and Tarot readings are illegal in Alexandria.

The Town Talk newspaper reports that it’s unlawful …

for any person to engage in the business or practice of palmistry, card reading, astrology, fortunetelling, phrenology, mediums or activities of a similar nature within the city, regardless of whether a fee is charged directly or indirectly, or whether the services are rendered without a charge.

Adams sees her psychic work as an expression of her religion, and according to her attorney, Tommy Davenport, the ordinance is suppressing her ability to practice her faith.

Members of the Alexandria Council, said that they were surprised by the suit, and wished Adams had approached them first before filing.

They said that they would have considered an amendment to the ordinance rather than trying to defend it in court.

Adams’ attorney, however, said that due to the criminal charge against his client, the lawsuit was the best way to proceed.

And he may have been right. Just two hours after presenting four similar cases where fortune-telling bans were overturned, charges against Adams were dropped.

Davenport hopes it’s a good sign that the ordinance itself will soon be overturned. I hope so too.

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