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Noise ordinance appeal fails

The U.S. Supreme Court declined today to review the finding by the Supreme Court of Virginia that Virginia Beach’s noise ordinance was unconstitutional on its face.

Many localities in the state, including Virginia Beach, have reworked their noise ordinances since the Virginia court’s ruling in April. But Virginia Beach also filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court unceremoniously rejected the request by including the case in a long list of lower cour tdecisions that it concluded did not merit its full consideration.

The Virginia court held unanimously that the ordinance was unconstitutional on its face because it did not provide “fair notice” of just what a violation of it would be.

Kevin E. Martingayle, the attorney for The Peppermint Beach Club, contended that city police enforced the ordinance selectively because they did not like the hip-hop, heavy metal and emo music played at the club. He emphasized that police never received a complaint about noise from the club.

The court did not reach the selective enforcement argument. It said the ordinance  does “not contain ascertainable standards.” Instead, it is based on “the subjective tolerances, perceptions, and sensibilities of the listener.”

By Alan Cooper

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