Tuesday, May 13, 2008

IL Smokers take case to court

Me found an article this morning talking about smokers having a date in court. And this must be the same case Jim previously talked about in the IL group.

Based on what I read as me attempted to hi-lite da article for copying/pasting, yup, this is the media's version of the same case. Me bets Jim is a more legit source than a Fked up journalist who's in favor of smoking bans.

Smokers take cause to court


May 13, 2008

JOLIET -- Outside the courthouse Monday, protesters bemoaned the smoking ban.

They'd gathered just before 11 a.m. on the north side of the building near Jefferson Street, many of them puffing on cigarettes.

"Come on, honk!" one woman yelled to the drivers passing by. "Honk for your freedom!" And the horns started blowing.

On the other side of the street, a man sitting on the bed of a parked pickup waved a homemade sign proclaiming "Smokers have rights, too."

Inside the building, four local residents ticketed by Joliet police in March for allegedly defying the ban were in the courtroom of Will County Judge Marzell Richardson. Paul Leoford, 63, of 802 Cottage St., Shorewood; Bruce Hockin, 63, of 1317 Frederick St., Joliet; and Jack Jackson, 65, of 900 Windsor Drive, Shorewood, were at Paulie's Pub, 2104 W. Jefferson St., when they allegedly were caught smoking.

Donald Poplawski, 56, of 1115 N. Center St., Joliet, was at Woody's, 1008 E. Washington St.

Tough act to follow?
The Smoke Free Illinois Act, a law that went into effect Jan. 1, forbids smoking in most indoor public places.

The four men are being represented by Dan O'Day, a Peoria lawyer who has worked on similar cases. He has filed paperwork in court arguing, among other things, that the ban was unconstitutional because it was unnecessarily broad. After a brief discussion, the judge suggested that they address the constitutional issue first and the other objections at a later date.

Moving vehicles
The new ban forbids smoking in public places where employees could be exposed to second-hand smoke, O'Day argued. That includes some vehicles such as public buses and police cars, for example. So if a police officer stopped a squad at a busy intersection and rolled down the windows, no one could smoke within 15 feet of either side of the car.

If a customer was smoking inside a car and stopped at the drive-through window of a fast-food restaurant, that person also could be breaking the law if an employee was nearby, O'Day argued.

"You start adding up all these outdoor places and the vehicles that are moving ... Can you even pick a place where you can smoke?" he asked the judge. "I don't know of any point in Illinois outdoors, except for the woodiest ravines, that employees don't have to go."

That argument is an unreasonable interpretation of the law, argued Will County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Woods.

"Public places are open to the public. Someone's car is not open to the public," Woods said.

The new law is similar to others regulating alcohol, Woods said. There are places where drinking is allowed and others where it is forbidden. People can drink in their homes and inside taverns, for example, but they can't walk down the street with a bottle of beer, he argued.

After hearing both sides, Richardson decided to consider the issue until 2 p.m. May 30.

Waiting for a ruling
Back outside, the protesters still waved their signs. Some local bar owners and their employees were sitting on a bench, waiting to hear the outcome of the case. Mary Woodard, owner of Woody's, said she felt terrible about the fact that some of her customers had been ticketed."I think we should have the right to put a sign on the door saying that it's a smoking bar," she said

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