Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Judge declares smoking ban constitutional

"Smoking ban constitutional" my Black arse. Those smokers should keep on fighting. I wish them luck in getting a new judge that believes in pro-choice freedoms.


Smoking ban constitutional, Will County judge rules

Violators lose case against Illinois law

A Will County judge said the state's smoking ban is constitutional after a challenge Tuesday by several residents who were cited with violating the law.

Their attorney, Dan O'Day, argued that the law was too broad, but Judge Marzell Richardson upheld the constitutionality of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act. After Richardson rejected two additional motions to dismiss the case, O'Day said his five clients want to move forward with a jury trial.

Eight people have been nabbed at Will County bars for violating the smoking ban since the law went into effect Jan. 1. They appeared before the judge Tuesday, and some gathered in the lobby of the Joliet courthouse between hearings to commiserate about their citations.

"It's a ridiculous law," said John Hoglund of Joliet, who was cited at a Rockdale bar. "It's a violation of our rights."

Hoglund and two others were cited April 5 at E Street Bar and Grill. Five people were cited March 7 during two raids at Pa

ulie's Pub and Woody's bar, both in Joliet.

The law takes aim at secondhand smoke by banning smoking inside public buildings, college dormitories and most businesses. County health officials and police perform random compliance checks after receiving three complaints about a restaurant or bar, officials said.

Individuals face fines of $100 to $250 for the first offense, and a business must be fined at least $250. If a bar is cited a second time, the owner could be fined up to $2,500.

A man pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the ban and agreed to pay a $235 fine, but others decided to fight the citations.

"It's a matter of principle now," said Jack Jackson of Shorewood, who received a smoking citation at Paulie's along with two buddies.

O'Day also argued that the traffic ticket police used to issue the citation was not appropriate, and that the citations should be heard in front of an administrative agency instead of a criminal hearing. The judge dismissed both motions. Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Paul Gans, the owner of E Street, attended the hearing though he has not yet been cited for the incident at his bar in April. He wanted to support his patrons and had hoped the judge would de- cide the law was unconstitutional.

"Business has been down since January because of the smoking ban," he said.

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