The highlight of the local scene is the bold attempt by the City of Miami to interfere with the First Amendment rights of an internet based adult business called Cocodorm run by a local company called “Flava Works, Inc.”. All of the excitement started sometime in May when packages containing downloads from the internet and allegations of adult entertainment and unsafe sex were distributed to the neighbors surrounding the private house in Miami where the residents lived. These packages were also distributed to all of the media outlets. It is assumed that these packages were created by a hostile competitor who wants to bring down this popular adult website.The house itself sits in a residential area in an old part of Miami just north of downtown. Within eyesight of the house, prostitutes regularly sell their wares and drug deals happen on the street corners. It is a typical near inner city type of community. When one looks at the residence itself, all you see is a single family residence. There are never multiple cars parked there. There are never large parties or large groups of individuals there at any time. There are simply a group of gay single men who live there. The only difference between this house and any other house in this or any other community is that it is wired with numerous internet cameras throughout the house. The images that are captured on those cameras are sent out through the internet. People can buy a subscription to the website and obtain access to what the cameras in the house show. What they show are a group of individuals living there, having sex and doing all of the other things that people do in the privacy of their own home. Not one person from the public goes to the actual geographic location of the residence to obtain any adult entertainment whatsoever. There is no commercial enterprise on the premises. People buy the content of the website either through the internet or by obtaining DVD’s either through the internet or by sending a check to a company office located elsewhere. The overbearing, dictatorial, bullying, and unreasonable code enforcement staff of the City of Miami decided that they wanted to get rid of Cocodorm. After the initial violations were alleged by the City, James Benjamin was hired to represent Cocodorm. Immediately upon the violations being alleged, Benjamin attempted to contact the City and explain that this issue had already been decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia almost seven years ago. In that case, fellow First Amendment lawyer Luke Lirot of Tampa, handled the case for a company called Voyeurdorm. The case was exactly the same as the one facing the folks at Cocodorm here in Miami. In that case, Lirot was able to persuade the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that all the business activity th... [More]
At the time of the writing of this article, we are still waiting from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on their decision as to the rehearing en banc that was filed in the Daytona Grand case. Hopefully, by the time that you read this article, the Rehearing En Banc will have been granted and there will smiles on many people’s faces. If the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals declines to hear the case again en banc, it looks like we will take the Daytona Grand case to the U.S. Supreme Court.For those of you who have this article for years, there is a similar pattern. Our August article usually involves our travels, as August seems to always be our traveling month. At the beginning of August, Daniel Aaronson and James Benjamin traveled to Chicago, Illinois for the Summer First Amendment Lawyers Association Meeting. As always, the meetings were informative, spirited and valuable. It is always good to be in room full of other people who do what you do for a living, who share the same zeal for the subject and are fighting the same fights that you are fighting. In fact, I think we speak for the entire organization when we say that meetings like the one in Chicago energize us to continue the battles that we are up against. Further, meetings such as the one in Chicago, help all of us find out what is going on in other parts of the country, what new battles may come our way in this part of the country, and it gives us a leg up on how to defend the new fights.As usual, in the end of August there is the Gentlemen’s Club Expo out in Las Vegas, Nevada. James Benjamin on behalf of Benjamin & Aaronson will attend that convention. As of right now, he is expected to be one of the panelists for the symposium dealing with updates with the law involving adult entertainment.In addition to his speaking at the convention, Mr. Benjamin will also attend the “ACE” Association of Club Executives’ Summer Meeting. This meeting combines the Board of Directors of ACE with several First Amendment attorneys from around the country who are legal advisors to ACE. To put it in a nutshell, the purpose of ACE is to unify our industry, to organize ourselves together, and to help stem the tide of political forces against us, both on State and national levels. Of course, if you have to go to a convention, Las Vegas is not a bad place to go. As always, should you have any news that you believe others in the First Amendment arena or the adult entertainment industry would find valuable, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would be more than happy to pass on that information through this article to others. In the meantime, we will continue and hopefully you will continue to keep on fighting the good fight.