The Gentleman’s Playground in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Source: Yelp

This post was authored by Otten Johnson summer associate Lindsay Lyda.  Lindsay is a rising third-year law student at the University of Colorado Law School.

A few weeks ago, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s summary judgment

“Sexy cops” patrolling the Las Vegas Strip. Source:

This post was authored by Otten Johnson summer law clerk David Brewster.  David is a rising third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Last month, street performers in the Ninth Circuit got a bigger tip than anticipated when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Nevada federal district court’s order granting summary judgment to three Las Vegas police officers, where the police officers ticketed two street performers on the famous Las Vegas Strip.  In its ruling, the appeals court found that the street performers—who dressed up as “sexy cops” to take photos with tourists—could not constitutionally be required to obtain a business license for engaging in expressive activity and association.

Michele Santopietro is an actress turned street performer who occasionally dresses up as a “sexy cop” on the Las Vegas Strip.  In March of 2011, Santopietro and her colleague Lea Patrick performed as “sexy cops” on the Strip as they were approached by three individuals indicating a desire to take a photograph.  The “sexy cops” happily obliged.  Following the photograph, Patrick persistently reminded the three individuals that the “sexy cops” work for tips.  Unbeknownst to Santopietro and Patrick, the three individuals in question were real Las Vegas Metro police officers dressed down in street clothes.  Due to Patrick’s persistence and claim that the officer entered into a “verbal contract” to give a tip, the Metro police officers arrested the two women under Clark County Code § 6.56.030 which states: “It is unlawful for any person, in the unincorporated areas of the county to operate or conduct business as a temporary store, professional promoter or peddler, solicitor or canvasser without first having procured a license for the same.”
Continue Reading Las Vegas “Sexy Cops” Don’t Need a Business License, At Least For Now

Matt Smerge of Left Field Media hawking newspapers at a Cubs game. Source: Chicago Reader.

On Monday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Chicago’s ban on the peddling of merchandise on sidewalks adjacent to Wrigley Field was a constitutional time, place, and manner regulation that survived intermediate scrutiny.  The ordinance was challenged by Left Field Media, which publishes a magazine called Chicago Baseball and sells copies outside of Wrigley Field before Chicago Cubs home games.  Chicago’s “Adjacent Sidewalks Ordinance” prohibits peddling merchandise on any sidewalk adjacent to Wrigley Field, for the purpose of allowing safe pedestrian passage.  Because the Adjacent Sidewalks Ordinance prohibited the sale of all merchandise—“[t]he ordinance applies as much to sales of bobblehead dolls and baseball jerseys as it does to the sale of printed matter”—the appeals court found that the ordinance was content neutral in light of Reed v. Town of Gilbert.  The appeals court’s decision upholds the prior denial by a federal district judge of the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Continue Reading Appeals Court: Wrigley Field Peddling Ordinance Not a First Amendment Violation