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Fortuneteller suing to overturn Montgomery (County, MD) ban on forecasting
The DC Examinerf ^ | 2008-07-22 | Kathleen Miller

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 it’s a scam,” Clifford Royalty, a lawyer in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s 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.

Nefedro’s 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 he’s 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 county’s 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.


TOPICS: Government; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: fortunetelling; govwatch; montgomerycounty; regulatoryaffairs; zoning
All he needs to do in Montgomery County is claim to be an illegal alien and all his troubles will disappear. And of course the ACLU has to enter the fray.
1 posted on 07/22/2008 10:46:53 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: 3AngelaD

Does she know how this trial will turn out?


2 posted on 07/22/2008 10:48:38 AM PDT by Slapshot68
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To: 3AngelaD
A fortuneteller is suing Montgomery County after he learned he would not be allowed to open a shop in Bethesda - Didn't he already know that?
3 posted on 07/22/2008 10:49:45 AM PDT by SF Republican
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To: 3AngelaD

Palm reading used to be illegal almost everywhere pre-boomer because everyone new if was just a fraud scheme.


4 posted on 07/22/2008 10:49:53 AM PDT by donna (Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.)
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To: 3AngelaD

Does Al Gore know?


5 posted on 07/22/2008 10:50:00 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (OVERPRODUCTION......... one of the top five worries for American farmers.)
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To: 3AngelaD

Claim it’s a religion (non-Christian, of course) and you’ll be, as they say, home free.


6 posted on 07/22/2008 10:50:51 AM PDT by WayneS (What the hell is wrong with these people?)
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To: 3AngelaD
There goes the weather segment on the nightly news.

-PJ

7 posted on 07/22/2008 10:51:17 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (Repeal the 17th amendment -- it's the "Fairness Doctrine" for Congress!)
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To: 3AngelaD
Montgomery code dating back to the early 1950s prohibits collecting cash for predicting the future.

So why doesn't he set up shop anyway and simply take credit cards, money orders and checks?

8 posted on 07/22/2008 10:51:22 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Conservatives say, 'Seeing is believing.' - - - Liberals say, 'Believing is seeing'.)
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To: SF Republican

True.

If he was for real, he would have filed the suit BEFORE they refused to give him the license.


9 posted on 07/22/2008 10:51:50 AM PDT by WayneS (What the hell is wrong with these people?)
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To: Slapshot68

10 posted on 07/22/2008 10:52:54 AM PDT by edpc (Tagline Currently Under Construction)
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To: 3AngelaD

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.


11 posted on 07/22/2008 10:54:01 AM PDT by centurion316 (Democrats - Supporting Al Qaida Worldwide)
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To: 3AngelaD

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.


12 posted on 07/22/2008 10:54:05 AM PDT by walford (http://the-big-pic.org)
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To: 3AngelaD
Montgomery code dating back to the early 1950s prohibits collecting cash for predicting the future.

So I guess the local meteorologists for the radio and tv stations are all unpaid volunteers?

13 posted on 07/22/2008 10:54:13 AM PDT by VRWCmember
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To: Political Junkie Too

That was my very first thought too!


14 posted on 07/22/2008 10:55:51 AM PDT by Constitution Day (This tagline is a Designated Whine-Free Zone)
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To: 3AngelaD

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.


15 posted on 07/22/2008 11:02:53 AM PDT by calex59
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To: 3AngelaD

Does this mean its illegal for a pastor to get paid if he reads from the Book of Revelations?


16 posted on 07/22/2008 11:02:56 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: VRWCmember

***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!”


17 posted on 07/22/2008 11:03:31 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Political Junkie Too
There goes the weather segment on the nightly news.

Why not...that's a scam too, since they can't seem to predict it accurately, LOL!

18 posted on 07/22/2008 11:12:07 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Political Junkie Too

“There goes the weather segment on the nightly news.”

it’s only illegal if you have a chance of being right. :-)


19 posted on 07/22/2008 1:39:13 PM PDT by stompk
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To: 3AngelaD; Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; cindy-true-supporter; ...

Is victory in the cards for the plaintiff?

Maryland “Freak State” PING!


20 posted on 07/23/2008 7:04:47 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Drill Here! Drill Now! Pay Less! Sign the petition at http://www.americansolutions.com/)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Is victory in the cards for the plaintiff?

LOL!!

Well, the cops finally busted Madame Marie
for telling fortunes better than they do,
For me this boardwalk life is through
You ought to quit this scene too

Oh, Sandy, the moon is rising behind us...

21 posted on 07/23/2008 7:15:52 AM PDT by Albion Wilde (Alaska has the oil. The Senate has the dipsticks.)
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