City of Alexandria settles fortunetelling ban case after receiving two unfavorable rulings by the United States Courts. Thomas “Tommy” Davenport, Jr., represented the fortuneteller.
Thomas “Tommy” Davenport, Jr., wins federal challenge over a fortunetelling ban in Alexandria, Louisiana. Tommy obtained a favorable result for Rachel Adams, doing business as Readings by Faith, who was threatened with arrest and issued a criminal summons after seeking a business permit to offer fortunetelling to the public.
Both U.S. District Judge Drell and U.S. Magistrate Judge Kirk agreed that Mrs. Adams has a constitutional right to free speech, and they declared the fortunetelling ban “unconstitutional.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kirk issued a 10 page Recommendation that stated, in part “To apply the ordinance literally would outlaw every ‘amateur psychiatrist, parlor sage and barstool philosopher’ in Alexandria who dares to suggest to another what the future may hold.” Kirk continued dismantling the city’s argument by noting, “This attempt at ‘alchemy’ by the city to turn content-based speech into commercial speech just doesn’t shine … “
“My use of allegory and analogy is intended to demonstrate why we cannot afford to allow government to squelch free thought and speech without a compelling interest, and why even a fortuneteller’s speech must be protected …” and “For a government to believe that it knows all that is true and real, no matter how obvious it thinks it is, is arrogance, pure and simple. Our Constitution protects us from such government oppression,” Kirk wrote.
U.S. District Judge Drell accepted Kirk’s Recommendation and added, “…that the ‘art’ of fortune telling proliferates in front of St. Louis Cathedral, in the City of New Orleans, apparently without incident.”
The City of Alexandria settled with Mrs. Adams paying damages and attorney’s fees in the amount of $16,000
Mrs. Adams was represented by Thomas “Tommy” Davenport, Jr., of Alexandria, Louisiana.