Skip to comments.Fortuneteller suing to overturn Montgomery (County, MD) ban on forecasting
Posted on 07/22/2008 10:46:53 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
A fortuneteller is suing Montgomery County after he learned he would not be allowed to open a shop in Bethesda because the county bans the business of forecasting the future. Attorneys for Nick Nefedro, previously of Key West, Fla., say county officials violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and discriminated against his Roma, or Gypsy, culture when they refused to give him a business license. Montgomery code dating back to the early 1950s prohibits collecting cash for predicting the future.
The underlying purpose is to prevent people from being taken advantage of, because its a scam, Clifford Royalty, a lawyer in the Montgomery County States Attorneys Office, said.
In the Washington suburbs, however, Montgomery County is on its own all other counties contacted by The Examiner allow fortunetellers to operate. The District does not even require a business license, but most other counties ask fortune-tellers to follow the same regulatory practices as other service providers.
Nefedros attorney Ed Amourgis said the county must show there is a need for protection rather than simply putting a blanket ban over the whole industry.
This legislation, this policy is focused really on the Gypsies, Amourgis said. How is what hes doing different than running a horoscope? Who are they to say that is not fraudulent but my client is?
Montgomery County Council members met behind closed doors last week to discuss the lawsuit. Council Members Nancy Floreen and Marc Elrich, who both sit on the economic development committee, said there did not seem to be support for repealing the measure.
There are a lot more important things for us to worry about, Floreen said. Elrich said the county should not encourage businesses that take advantage of people.
The penalty for fortunetelling in the county is a $250 fine. A federal judge upheld a similar ban in Harford County in 2002, deferring to the countys assessment of fortunetelling as inherently deceptive and citing a 1976 Supreme Court decision, albeit not in a fortunetelling case, that said untruthful speech is not protected.
Arthur Spitzer, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area, said Nefedro had a good case and that very recent challenges to similar measures across the country have succeeded in overturning bans.
Does she know how this trial will turn out?
Palm reading used to be illegal almost everywhere pre-boomer because everyone new if was just a fraud scheme.
Does Al Gore know?
Claim it’s a religion (non-Christian, of course) and you’ll be, as they say, home free.
So why doesn't he set up shop anyway and simply take credit cards, money orders and checks?
If he was for real, he would have filed the suit BEFORE they refused to give him the license.
Boy, I bet that James Hansen is hoping that this idea doesn’t spread from Montgomery County to the rest of Maryland - that will put his little money making climate prediction machine out of business.
There are indeed people who can get an inkling of things to come, but interpretation is the problem; the same as interpreting things that are happening right in front of us.
That the Gypsy or Romany culture can claim a monopoly to this ability is absurd, thus their claim to discrimination is also absurd.
That being said, there should not be a ban on fortune-telling. Only doing so for money unless the ‘vendor’ is willing to accept liability for any fortunes that turn out to be incorrect.
So I guess the local meteorologists for the radio and tv stations are all unpaid volunteers?
That was my very first thought too!
I guess all global warming activist can’t operate there either then, because that is all they are doing, forecasting the future and not doing a very good job of it either.
Does this mean its illegal for a pastor to get paid if he reads from the Book of Revelations?
***So I guess the local meteorologists for the radio and tv stations are all unpaid volunteers? ****
Let’s not forget the political pundts who introduce their candidate as...’Ladys and Gentlemen,..The NEXT President of the United States!”
Why not...that's a scam too, since they can't seem to predict it accurately, LOL!
“There goes the weather segment on the nightly news.”
it’s only illegal if you have a chance of being right. :-)
Is victory in the cards for the plaintiff?
Maryland “Freak State” PING!
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