Nudists fail to get charges dismissed in SF

April 23, 2013 7:03:04 PM PDT
The public nudity ban in San Francisco got another hearing in court Tuesday. This time, it wasn't just before supervisors, but in a trial before a judge as three nudists tried to get charges against them dismissed.

It ended up being another legal loss. The nudists had been claiming they were illegally arrested when they disobeyed the city's new law and they were trying to convince the judge to toss the case. They were taken into custody at City Hall during a demonstration on February 1, the first day the city's ban on public nudity went into effect.

"We just wanted to test the waters to see how much the police department respects our First Amendment rights. We already knew that they wouldn't so we just wanted to demonstrate to everyone else what this legislation really means when it comes to constitutional rights, free speech," Gypsy Taub told ABC7 News.

Earlier this year, a federal judge already ruled that nudity itself is not protected as an expression of free speech. The nudists have resubmitted that case and on Tuesday, they challenged the city in superior court trying to get their February infractions dismissed.

"We asked for a verdict of not guilty. Unfortunately, the court disagreed and found that the clients, because they were nude in a public place, she found them guilty," said attorney Christina Diedoardo.

"We're going to take it as far as it takes," Taub said. But the small band of die-hard nudists may be the only ones still fighting. The plaza in the Castro where the so-called "naked guys" were hanging out every day now looks like any other parklet in the city. And, the police department says San Franciscans seem to have gotten the memo.

"People appear to be complying with the municipal police code and that's what this law was intended to do, was to minimize these types of events," SFPD Officer Albie Esparza said.

The judge found all three nudists guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They say they are considering an appeal.


Load Comments