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Another Fortunetelling Law Overturned

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:34 pm
by Kitsune
The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that fortunetelling and other psychic services are protected speech and cannot be outlawed by local ordinances. The ruling stems from a long legal battle by Montgomery County resident Nick Nefedro, who has been mentioned at this blog before, and his win may be the most devastating blow yet to laws targeting fortunetelling.

“Fortunetelling may be pure entertainment, it may give individuals some insight into the future or it may be hokum,” the Maryland Court of Appeals wrote in a 24-page opinion. “People who purchase fortunetelling services may or may not believe in its value. Fortunetellers may sometimes deceive their customers. We need not, however, pass judgment on the validity or the value of the speech that fortunetelling entails.”

Previous cases that overturned anti-fortunetelling ordinances often did so on religious grounds, but this case didn’t pursue a religious angle, and I thought it would suffer because of it; however, the appeal to freedom of speech seems to have been convincing. As a result, a much broader precedent has been reached, one that may be replicated in similar court battles. It remains to be seen if Montgomery County will now try to appeal to a Federal court. Nefedro was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland in this case, here’s an excerpt from their press release concerned the decision.

“This case has never been just about fortunetellers, but about the fundamental right to free speech,” said Ajmel Quereshi, an attorney with the ACLU of Maryland. “While individual fortunetellers can be punished if they fraudulently exploit their customers, banning all fortunetelling is overbroad and unconstitutional. It is not the role of government to decide that broad categories of speech can be banned merely because it finds them distasteful or disagreeable.”
Finally! Now that they've set a precedent for the case, it will be much harder for them to overturn it later!

Re: Another Fortunetelling Law Overturned

Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:12 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
Awesome news!!

Re: Another Fortunetelling Law Overturned

Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:48 am
by Kitsune
I really like the fact that they didn't play the "religious" card that gets people set against you (since so often religious is only meant towards Christianity, I think they don't like the word being applied elsewhere), but in fact called it what it is... Free Speech.

Some people may lie and some may not... that doesn't stop it from being covered. If this had been taken against a preacher, (and lost) free speech would have pulled out immediately.

Hmmm, I wonder if you could do that, since priests generally ask for a donation during a church session... not that I would, but I wonder if you could. "Well sir, he was saying all this about the Rapture coming, and so I gaves away my credit cards to some poor [email protected]#$#@%rd that obviously weren't going. Since I paid the priest, I figure he should cover my expenses for the Rapture not happenin', 'ight?" #-o ](*,) ](*,)