Thursday, January 19, 2006

Detroit ordinance banning selling tickets for or below value is overturned

From the Detroit News:
A federal judge declared the city of Detroit's ban on selling tickets at or below face value to events unconstitutional Wednesday -- a ruling that could cost the city more than $1.5 million. Detroit's ordinance applied to such ticket sales within 500 feet of sporting and music venues.

"The city offers no explanation how the (anti-scalping) ordinance with its broad reach directly advances its alleged interest in traffic safety and security," U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara wrote in a 17-page opinion.

"Therefore, the ordinance is unconstitutional."

The judge's order on the city's ordinance has no effect on state law and the companion city ordinance that bans scalping tickets above face value.

Some of the examples of the heavy-handedness involved in enforcing this improper ordinance is incredible. It also made buying such tickets illegal as well:
Wayne Schreck had sought to buy two tickets to a Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field. Instead, he got a ticket from the police.

. . .

Others who attempted to buy tickets also were cited and fined. One Kentucky resident drove to watch a 2003 Michigan State University basketball game in Detroit with his wife. She attended with their only ticket; he was detained for three hours by police after he attempted to buy a ticket from an undercover officer, Cecil said.
One would have thought that with Detroit's growing violent crime rate the Police would focus more on the violent criminals rather than going after people trying to buy sporting events tickets. Then again, there was far more revenue to be made from citing these ticket buyers and sellers than .

A class action for all those victimized by this law is ongoing, and it looks like the City will be facing millions in damages, especially as it continued to enforce the law even after a Federal Magistrate issued a preliminary ruling holding it unconstitutional.

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