Today the Horned Hand announced that a ruling has been made by Judge Brian Hemphill on the status of the $500 noise violation ticket they received in August.
Citing lack of clarity in the city's noise ordinance and lack of evidence, Judge Hemphill dismissed the ticket and fine.
Owner of the Horned Hand, Wesley Ladd, is hopeful that this ruling could set a precedent in which police must use decibel meters, or go to the point of complaint before they issue tickets to local businesses for noise complaints.
"He [Judge Hemphill] said what we were already saying in the city council meetings. This thing is written crazy, the wording is so weird" said Ladd, "We’re going to have to keep really involved through January to see if the City Council wants to define it and make it more clear, or operate with the decibel meters. If you don’t have a radar gun you can’t write a speeding ticket."
With the announcement that the Century Center will no longer be hosting shows beginning in January, in part, due to pressure from noise sensitive neighbors, this ruling could mean big news for local venues who have been turning it down for fear of complaints and possible tickets.
The final paragraph in the ruling by Hemphill reads:
"This ruling should not be construed as an exoneration of Mr. Ladd. I a not finding Mr. Ladd "not guilty." Rather, I am dismissing the charge against him. If anything this ruling should be attributed to a lack of clarity in the evidence presented at trial or a lack of clarity in the Code, as applied to the evidence presented in this case."
Stay tuned to the Source for more on the noise ordinance, which will be addressed by a new City Council in January.