Jury Vindicates Dance Music in Precedent

By | December 1, 2001 at 12:00 AM

No, this is not a story about an isolated incident. Although for years rock concerts have been drug and alcohol fests (come on, we’ve all been to them), for some reason dance music related events and clubs have recently been targeted by law authorities nationwide – from superclub Twilo in New York being shut down earlier this year to a yet unsubstantiated Federal case filed in New Orleans against club organizers.

You even see the prevailing attitude on nightly news programs and in magazines like Time that dance music events are simply all about the drugs … perhaps all the sensationalism stems from the unknown.

In any case, a victory came through for dance music this week when, after just 75 minutes, a jury delivered a verdict of “not guilty” in a precedent-setting Panama City Beach, FL case. In it, two brothers, Patrick and Thorsten Pfeffer, were being charged with “Operating A Crackhouse” with Criminal Forfeiture motion (narcotics) violations for activity at the club they ran, Club La Vela (the largest dance club in the area).

No drugs appear to have been found on the property or on the Pfeffer brothers, certainly none were entered as evidence, in the case that took nearly five years to prepare using Florida’s 1997 “Anti-rave” bill for justification. [can you briefly explain what this bill says?] Instead of drugs, a downloaded picture from the club’s website of a man giving another man a massage was introduced as “evidence” of drug use (ah, wouldn’t that be evidence of homophobia on the court’s part?). Also entered, as evidence was an assortment of candy and glow sticks seized in an Apr 27, 2000 raid of the club.

Although the verdict delivers a major blow to Federal Authorities, one must wonder, is this really what our taxes dollars are going towards? How about building some more homeless shelters?

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