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SANTA ANA : Nude Dance Club's Suit Asks End to Police Raids

October 06, 1994|LEE ROMNEY

A series of raids on a local business offering nude dancing violates the First Amendment, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Orange County Superior Court.

The owner of Paddy Murphy's contends in the lawsuit that his business is a theater where dancing is protected by the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuits requests a restraining order barring the Santa Ana Police Department from conducting further raids.

Friday night raids in June and September resulted in the arrests of a dozen female dancers on misdemeanor charges of lewd conduct, according to the lawsuit.

The suit adds that the raids are keeping away clients on Friday nights, the busiest night of the week, and are affecting the dancers.

"The unlawful arrests . . . have resulted in a chilling effect in that the dangers are afraid they will be arrested every time they take the stage . . . as such, the dancers are afraid to come to work and when they do work, their fear of arrest negatively affects the nature and quality of the entertainment provided," the lawsuit states.

Paddy Murphy's has been the main target of a group of residents, headed by City Council candidate Alberta Christy, that hopes to shut down nude dancing businesses in the city.

The group persuaded the City Council to pass an ordinance making it more difficult for nude bars to open in Santa Ana, and Christy has spearheaded a campaign aimed at revoking Paddy Murphy's liquor license.

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