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TAHITI BAR (06/11/58)

June 11, 1958

TAHITI BAR, INCORPORATED LIQUOR LICENSE CASE.


Appeal, No. 268, Oct. T., 1957, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Nov. T., 1956, No. 1122, in the matter of Tahiti Bar, Incorporated. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Edwin P. Rome, with him Morris L. Weisberg, and Blank, Rudenko & Klaus, for appellant.

Lois G. Forer, Deputy Attorney General, with her George G. Lindsay, Assistant Attorney General, Russell C. Wismer, Special Assistant Attorney General, and Thomas D. McBride, Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).

Author: Ervin

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 215]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

This is an appeal by Tahiti Bar, Incorporated, from an order of the court below dismissing an appeal by the licensee from an order of suspension entered by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The court below found as a fact "that the entertainment in each instance here was lewd, immoral or improper" and that "The entertainment in each of these cases was a predominant appeal to prurient interest." The entertainment consisted of various dance routines described as "bumps and grinds" by female entertainers who had removed practically all of their clothing. Article IV of the Liquor Code deals with licenses and regulations.

[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 216]

Section 493 (47 PS ยง 4-493) provides in pertinent part that it shall be unlawful: "(10)... for any licensee, under any circumstances, to permit in any licensed premises any lewd, immoral or improper entertainment, regardless of whether a permit to provide entertainment has been obtained or not."

The defendant contends (1) that the language is unconstitutionally vague, (2) that the entertainment was not obscene and (3) that it was entitled to a jury trial.

At the outset it should be recognized that this case involves the temporary suspension of a liquor license. It is not a case where a book, magazine or moving picture has been restrained before its distribution or exhibition. It is not even a case where a criminal penalty is involved. It is difficult for us to comprehend how an "exotic" dance is in any way related to freedom of speech or press. The liquor business is unlawful and its conduct is only lawful to the extent and in the manner permitted by statute: Sawdey Liquor License Case, 169 Pa. Superior Ct. 214, 82 A.2d 713. A liquor license is a privilege and not a property right: Cavanaugh v. Gelder, 364 Pa. 361, cert. den. 340 U.S. 822, 72 A.2d 85; Spankard's Liquor License Case, 138 Pa. Superior Ct. 251, 10 A.2d 899. In the granting and revocation of liquor licenses under the police power, the Commonwealth may establish the regulations and terms upon which the license may be granted and retained: Com. v. Speer, 157 Pa. Superior Ct. 197, 42 A.2d 94.

In Cavanaugh v. Gelder, supra, at page 366, our Supreme Court said: "It [the legislature] had the power to absolutely forbid or to permit under specified conditions, ...


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