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Prostitution advertising ban upheld

Updated Friday, July 30, 2010 | 3:45 p.m.

CARSON CITY – In a 3-0 decision, a federal court has refused to reconsider its decision that upholds the Nevada law banning advertisement on prostitution.

The ruling struck down efforts by two newspapers and a Nye County brothel to continue their efforts to void the law prohibiting advertisement of prostitution across the state.

It said no further petitions for a rehearing or a hearing by the full U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be considered.

Bobbi A. Davis, operator of the Shady Lady Ranch in Nye County, could not be reached for comment. A spokesman at the house of prostitution said it has not seen the order.

Allen Lichtenstein, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who took the challenge to the state law, said he was surprised by the decision of the panel of judges.

He said the ruling goes against precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving gaming, cigarettes and alcohol. He said these things like prostitution are legal in Nevada and commercial free speech should be allowed.

He said there are still legal opportunities open but added he has not talked with his clients what they want to do.

The judicial appeal panel In March rejected the argument that the statewide ban violates the First Amendment of free speech.

Also bringing suit besides Davis were the High Desert Advocate and Las Vegas City Life.

Brothels are banned from advertising at all in counties where the sale of sexual services is prohibited by local ordinance or state statute. In counties where the sale of sexual services is permitted, brothels cannot advertise in any public theater, on the public streets or on any public highway.

When the initial decision was issued in March, Miss Davis said her legal brothel was being punished by a state ban on advertising while “the illegal trade goes hog wild in Las Vegas,” where prostitution is banned.

The suit was originally filed in 2006 on grounds the state law was a violation of free speech. U.S. District Judge James Mahan voided the law on grounds the state did not offer any compelling interest in support of the policy. But the panel of the appeals court upheld Nevada’s law.

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected. In an earlier version, the voted was listed as 2-1 and that Judge John Noonan favored reconsideration. Noonan voted with the other two judges, making the decision unanimous. | (July 30, 2010)

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