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Nevada High Court Upholds Law Restricting Lap Dancing
By: Carlos Martinez (Courtesy of
Posted: 11/10/2006

Carson City, Nev. – Those who like their Las Vegas lap dances with some fondling and caressing will have to go elsewhere after the Nevada Supreme Court banned dancers from getting too hands-on with their customers.

In a 5-2 decision Thursday, the high court upheld a Las Vegas ordinance that bans exotic dancers from fondling or caressing patrons to sexually arouse them, the Review-Journal reported today.

The law also bars touching by customers.

Although a lawyer for some dancers said the measure effectively bans lap dancing, the city says strippers can continue to grind on their customers but must keep their hands to themselves.

Las Vegas police had cited 14 dancers for violating the ordinance for such activities as rubbing their breasts on customers’ faces and grinding their buttocks on customers’ groins.

A number of Las Vegas dancers challenged the law and a lower court agreed, saying the measure was too broad and unconstitutional, prompting the high court to step in and adjudicate the matter.

Although Justice Nancy Becker said the measure was aimed at banning lap dancing, City Attorney Brad Jerbic said lap dances are still legal but minus the touching.

Jonathan Powell, a lawyer representing the dancers, said the law makes it unclear about what kind of conduct is prohibited in strip clubs. He added that the patron is now just as liable as the dancer.

Allen Lichtenstein, a lawyer for the Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the law makes lap dancing illegal in Las Vegas. The ACLU, however, is not involved in the case.

The ruling, however, would not affect a Clark County ordinance on clubs which allows erotic dancers’ clothed pubic region and anus to make contact with a patron’s legs during performances.

Las Vegas is located in Clark County.

The ruling threw out a January 2005 ruling by District Judge Sally Loehrer who ruled the ordinance was illegal and unconstitutional. Loehrer said the law made it unclear just what is allowed in strip clubs.

The dancers said they are weighing their options about on whether to proceed further with their case.


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