Recreational Nudity and the Law

Compilation of 101 abstracts dealing with nudity and the law (1934  - 1995)

Compiled and Edited by  Gordon Gill


 
 
 

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Paperback - 199 pages Second edition ( 1995)
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A fascinating collection of cases dealing with how the courts have perceived nudity over the years. A must read for anyone interested in the nude beach movement in this country. Puts a lot of things in perspective.
 



Table of Contents
                   TABLE OF CONTENTS
 

DEDICATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix

AUTHOR'S PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

[A] ORGANIZED NUDISM ON PRIVATE PROPERTY . . . . . . . . . . .1
     People v. Ring (1934) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
     People v. Burke (1934). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
     Ex Parte Porter (1940). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
     Gulvin v. Sunshine Park, Inc. (1945). . . . . . . . . . .7
     Glassey v. State (1947) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
     Bartholomew v. Staheli (1948) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
     State ex rel. Church v. Brown (1956). . . . . . . . . . 13
     People v. Hildabridle (1958). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
     Campbell v. State (1960). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
     State ex rel. Cotterill v. Bessenger (1961) . . . . . . 19
     Martinal v. Lake O' The Woods Club, Inc. (1965) . . . . 21
     Roberts v. Clement (1966) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
     Roe v. Commonwealth (1966). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
     Pendergrass v. State (1966) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     Sturgis v. Margetts (1970). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
     Bruns v. Pomerleau (1970) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
     Freewood Associates, Ltd. v. Davie County Zoning Board (1976)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
     Moon v. Moon (1981) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
     Hadley v. Cox (1985). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
     Elysium Institute, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles (1991) 38
     Board of Supervisors v. Gaffney (1992). . . . . . . . . 41
     New England Naturist Association, Inc. v. George (1994) 43

[B] INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP NUDITY IN A PUBLIC SETTING
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
     City of Cincinnati v. Wayne (1970). . . . . . . . . . . 46
     State v. Nelson (1970). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
     State v. Borchard (1970). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
     State v. Rocker (1970). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
     In re Smith (1972). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
     United States v. Hymans (1972). . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
     State v. Miller (1972). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
     People v. Gilbert (1972). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
     Commonwealth v. Botzum (1973) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
     Baker v. State (1973) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
     People v. Price (1973). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
     People v. Hardy (1974). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
     Williams v. Hathaway (1975) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
     Eckl v. Davis (1975). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
     People v. Jacobs (1977) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
     Moffett v. State (1977) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
     Chapin v. Town of Southampton (1978). . . . . . . . . . 70
     City of Seattle v. Buchanan (1978). . . . . . . . . . . 72
     State v. Bull (1979). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
     State v. Crenshaw (1979). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
     State v. Luhnow (1979). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
     Sylvane v. Whelan (1981). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
     Duvallon v. State (1981). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
     South Florida Free Beaches v. City of Miami (1982). . . 79
     Borough of Belmar v. Buckley (1982) . . . . . . . . . . 81
     Duvallon v. Florida (1982). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
     Goodmakers v. State (1984). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
     McGuire v. State (1984) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
     State v. Turner (1986). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
     Duvallon v. District of Columbia (1986) . . . . . . . . 88
     People v. Hollman (1986). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
     People v. Craft (1986). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
     Tri-State Metro Naturists v. Township of Lower (1987) . 94
     Craft v. Hodel (1988) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
     New England Naturist Association, Inc. v. Larsen (1988) 98
     State v. Rowley (1988). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100
     National Capital Naturists v. Board of Supervisors (1989)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102
     People v. David (1989). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
     United States v. Biocic (1990). . . . . . . . . . . . .107
     The Naturist Society, Inc., and T.A. Wyner v. Fillyaw (1990)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109
     Miller v. Barberton Municipal Court (1991). . . . . . .112
     Davis v. Gates (1992) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114
     United States v. A Naked Person (1993). . . . . . . . .116

[C] BOOKS, MAGAZINES, AND MOTION PICTURES CONSTITUTING
                    SERIOUS SCHOLARSHIP OR DEPICTING LEGITIMATE
REPRESENTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117
     People v. Fellerman/People v. Koslow (1934) . . . . . .118
     Freedman v. New York Society for Suppression of Vice (1936)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
     Parmelee v. United States (1940). . . . . . . . . . . .121
     Hadley v. State (1943). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123
     State v. Lerner (1948). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .124
     Gore v. State (1949). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .126
     King v. Commonwealth (1950) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .128
     Sunshine Book Co. v. McCaffrey (1952) . . . . . . . . .129
     State v. Becker (1954). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132
     Summerfield v. Sunshine Book Co. (1954) . . . . . . . .134
     Sunshine Book Co. v. Summerfield (1955) . . . . . . . .136
     United States v. 4200 Copies (1955) . . . . . . . . . .139
     Excelsior Pictures Corp. v. Regents of University (1956)141
     Commonwealth v. Moniz/Commonwealth v. Rogers (1957)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143
     City of Cincinnati v. Walton (1957) . . . . . . . . . .145
     State ex rel. Murphy v. Morley (1957) . . . . . . . . .147
     State v. Rothschild (1958). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .148
     People v. Cohen (1960). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150
     Excelsior Pictures Corp. v. City of Chicago (1960). . .152
     Mier v. Culver Municipal Court and Culver City (1962) .153
     Fanfare Films, Inc. v. Motion Picture Censor Board (1964)
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154
     Royal News Co. v. Schultz (1964). . . . . . . . . . . .156
     Outdoor American Corp. v. City of Philadelphia (1964) .158
     Dale Book Co. v. Leary (1964) . . . . . . . . . . . . .160
     State v. Vollmar (1965) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .162
     State v. Martin (1965). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164
     Rosenbloom v. Commonwealth (1966) . . . . . . . . . . .165
     City of Phoenix v. Fine (1966). . . . . . . . . . . . .166
     People v. Biocic (1967) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .168
     People v. Noroff (1967) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
     Felton v. City of Pensacola (1967). . . . . . . . . . .172
     Donnenberg v. State (1967). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174
     City of Youngstown v. DeLoreto (1969) . . . . . . . . .176
     City of Chicago v. Geraci (1970). . . . . . . . . . . .178
     Mini-Art Operating Company, Inc. v. Smith (1971). . . .179
     Gall v. Scroggy (1987). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181

POSTSCRIPT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .182

NOTES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .183

TABLE OF CASES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .191

INDEX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192



Selected Cases from Recreational Nudity and the Law

. . . a conservation enforcement officer observed an
individual completely nude on a beach at Pu'u Ola'i in
Makena State Park, Maui.
 

State v. Rowley (1988)
Supreme Court of Hawaii

70 Haw. 135, 764 P.2d 1233 (1988)

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--The state Administrative Procedure Act requires
agencies of the state government to publish advance notice prior to adopting,
amending, or repealing their rules.  Such notice must clearly identify the substance
of the rules under consideration, thus affording interested persons meaningful
opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process.  Accordingly, the
Department of Land and Natural Resources placed a 1971 newspaper notice in the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, announcing that hearings would be held to consider
proposed rules (described in general, nonspecific terms only) to govern use of
parks, recreational areas, and historic sites.  Following such hearings, rules were
adopted to prohibit, inter alia, swimming, sun bathing, and walking in the nude.
 To comply with subsequent legislation mandating that all state agencies
recast their existing rules into a newly prescribed format, a second notice was
placed in 1981.  It announced forthcoming hearings to facilitate such recasting
and to consider minor modifications, specifically noting, however, only a proposed
repeal of obsolete rules dealing with submerged mineral exploration.  At the 1981
hearings, certain persons suggested deleting the 1971 antinudity rules in view of
their apparent overlapping with state statutes.  Rejecting the suggestion, however,
the department retained the rules but modified them by changing the words "sun
bathing" to "sunbathing" and inserting language prohibiting nude outdoor
showering.

FACTS--In 1987, a conservation enforcement officer observed an individual
completely nude on a beach at Pu'u Ola'i in Makena State Park, Maui.  Signs
prohibiting nudity were posted in the area.  Following arrest by police for violation
of the antinudity rules, he was convicted in the circuit court.

ISSUE--Did the department adequately comply with the public notice
requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act?

OPINION--The 1971 antinudity rules were invalid and unenforceable ab initio for
lack of specificity in the notice; the 1981 rules were similarly defective.
Conviction reversed.

DISSENT--Any failure of the 1971 rulemaking to have complied with the notice
requirements should not invalidate a post-1981 arrest.  That is to say, upon
incorporation of the 1971 rules into the state's permanent register of administrative
rules, the public was thus made aware of the nudity prohibition.  Indeed, such
awareness was confirmed by the dialogue relative to nudity that transpired at the
1981 hearings.  Since the notice published for the latter hearings indicated that
they would cover all of the previously promulgated (i.e., 1971) rules, inclusion
therein of the antinudity rules was necessarily inferred.  Consequently, I would
affirm.
An organization of social nudists desires to arrange a
public display of nudism on the beach at Assateague
Island, Virginia.


. . . sheriffs. . . encountered 25-30 women--all naked
above the waist--on Durand-Eastman Beach.
 

People v. David (1989)
City Court of Rochester (New York)

146 Misc.2d 115, 549 N.Y.S.2d 564 (City Ct. 1989) Rev'd, 152 Misc.2d 66, 585
N.Y.S.2d 149 (County Ct. 1991)

FACTS--On a June afternoon with the temperature in the high eighties, a
waterborne sheriff's deputy patrolling the Lake Ontario shoreline received a
marine radio message advising that naked people had been sighted on
Durand-Eastman Beach.  After mooring his boat and going ashore, he encountered
25-30 women--all naked above the waist--sunbathing, playing volleyball, or
picnicking.  Upon his admonishing them that public exposure of female breasts is
unlawful, many covered themselves.  However, when the nine individuals named
in this action declined to do so, the deputy authorized their arrest by arriving
patrol car officers.  All were fingerprinted and booked for violating a state
antinudity statute specifying that private or intimate body parts (defined to include
female breasts) must be clothed in public.  [Three of the nine also were defendants
in People v. Craft, supra at page 91.]
 At an ensuing trial in this court, Dr. Rita Freedman (a specialist in
developmental psychology) testified in the women's behalf that the primary
physiological characteristics which distinguish the two sexes and which facilitate
reproduction of the human species do not include the breasts of either sex.  She
stated that the female breast is a primary sexual characteristic only in a
psychological sense that is cultural rather than natural in origin.  The defendants
maintain that puritanical laws such as the one in question here have invested
female breasts with an erotic power which would quickly dissipate if they were
publicly exposed.

ISSUES--Did the Legislature abuse its power in ordaining the minimum clothing
requirements?  Is there justification for banning the exposure of female--but not
male--breasts?

OPINION--Establishing public decency is critical to the identity and self-worth of
any society.  This country historically accepts Judeo-Christian teachings, from
which we have adopted inextricably interwoven ethics of nudity and morality.
They are illustrated allegorically by the biblical stories in Genesis which have
permeated the collective conscience of our civilization for thousands of years.
Viewing nudity as a catalyst for shame and immoral behavior, our 150-year-old
Legislature has simply codified standards long observed by western peoples;
Governor Cuomo also approved the bill.  Laws emerge at the upper levels of the
graph of human experience and reflect that which has gone before and which has
already bound the community together.  From this perspective, the clothing
requirement provision rests upon a rational basis.  Additionally, our state Court
of Appeals upheld its validity in People v. Hollman [supra at page 89].
 This court rejects defendants' argument that commonplace exposure of
female breasts would remove their erotic characteristic.  Indeed, their expert
psychologist admitted that in the United States today the female breast is perceived
to possess the erotic properties of a primary sex organ.  Moreover, it was the
proliferation of topless waitresses that led to New York's 1967 "exposure of a
female" statute.  Although a 1983 revision of the indecent exposure code was
basically gender-neutral, it retained the discriminatory language.  The Legislature
has apparently decided that, for the foreseeable future at least, the public will
likely continue to disapprove of female breast exposure.  No constitutional
deprivation arises from the statute since it is substantially related to advancing an
important governmental objective.
 The defendants are found guilty; they shall appear on December 13th for
sentencing.  [The results of that appearance are not reported.]

FURTHER PROCEEDINGS (1991)
Monroe County Court

ISSUES--Is there a constitutional equal protection problem with the antinudity
statute?  Can a woman's breast be characterized as a "private or intimate" body
part subject to the mandatory clothing requirements of that statute?

OPINION--It is well established that a gender-based statute is constitutional only
if it serves some legitimate governmental interest without arbitrary classification
of people by sexual stereotype.  While protecting public sensibilities qualifies as
such an interest, the means by which the statute in question here seeks to serve
that interest is not reasonable.  That is to say, since testimony of record
demonstrates that male and female breasts are physiologically similar except for
lactation capability, it is apparent that this discriminatory statute does not properly
serve a legitimate governmental interest.  I therefore conclude that the statute's
gender classification violates the equal protection clauses of both the federal and
state constitutions.
 Because the unconstitutionality of one part of a statute does not
necessarily render it entirely void, this statute could be construed to be
gender-neutral and, as such, implicitly prohibit exposure of a male's breast as well.
However, a reversal of these convictions need not be grounded on the basis of an
equal protection violation.  Rather, testimony of defense experts Dr. Rita
Freedman and Dr. George Harker relative to a change having occurred in
community standards negates the once-prevailing notion that a woman's breast
constitutes a "private or intimate" body part, as characterized in the statute.
[Neither the City Court nor this opinion, however, identifies the particulars
regarding changed standards.]  Hence, the convictions are legally insufficient and
against the weight of the evidence.
 Reversed.  Informations dismissed and records sealed.

[HISTORICAL NOTE--Rita Freedman, Ph.D., one of the witnesses whose
testimony was noted above as being instrumental in the reversal on appeal of the
convictions of these topfree women, is a practicing clinical psychologist in
Scarsdale, New York.  She has written extensively on topics related to the
psychology of women.
 George R. Harker, Ph.D., who also testified in the women's behalf, has
at various times in his professional career worked with the Cleveland (Ohio)
Metropolitan Park District, the National Park Service (in Alaska), and as a
professor at Western Illinois University (Macomb, Ill.).  His numerous
publications in the field of resource management include the 1990 definitive
Creation and Management Guide to Public Clothing Optional Beaches and Parks,
commissioned by the former American Sunbathing Association, Inc.]



The Author:

Gordon Gill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Formally employed by the Interstate Commerce Commission, he is engaged in writing on financial and legal subjects. He resides in Fairfax County, Virginia.



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