A California court of appeal has handed a proposed Stanton strip club a victory over city officials and a Christian church which a three-justice panel decided had conspired to block the adult business from gaining a license to operate a no-booze, nude female dance club.
According to court, the facts of the case are relatively straightforward and indicate discriminatory practices. The City of Stanton has a regulation that prevents adult businesses from operating within 300 feet of a religious institution. But in this case, the church didn't exist when Musa Madain, the owner of the proposed Avalon Show Girls, began filing necessary paperwork to obtain a license in December 2008.
Evidence also showed that city officials stalled accepting Madain's adult business application and then secretly notified officials at Branches Christian Church who then filed a complete application for a location just feet away from the proposed strip club. The city ignored Madain's cries of unequal treatment and approved the churches' application, a move Superior Court Judge David R. Chaffee later sanctioned after Madain filed a lawsuit.
But according to a June 23 opinion written by Republican Justice William Bedsworth, the goal of city regulations "is to prevent any manipulation of the [licensing] process." Bedsworth, along with two colleagues on the state appellate court, concluded that the City of Stanton "had manipulated events" to give the church's application unfair advantage.
The appellate court ordered the case back to the lower court which will now have to give proper consideration to Madain's version of events.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly