Judge sides with state on smoking fines

Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette has sided with the state in a local bar owner’s battle to avoid $24,000 in smoking violation fines.
Jessica Cuffman
Mar 4, 2013

Excuses Lounge owner Terry Smith has been fighting in court for a year, although the war goes back to 2008, when he agreed to pay the first $100 fine after the Erie County Health Department cited him for allowing a patron to smoke in the Strub Road bar.

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Click here to watch an interview with Terry Smith on "Between the Lines Live."
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For the 11 citations that followed, however, Smith decided to stand his ground.

Court documents filed this month order him to pay the full $24,000 in fines — plus interest, which the state calculated at nearly twice the total when the case was filed a year ago in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

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Click here for a previous story on the smoking fines, or here for the e*Paper, get a copy of today's Register, or check back here at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they become available.

 
 
 

Comments

bullydogs1971

Your right i did miss it. I like others were preoccupied with Real life issues, which this is not. In the case of bar owners, its simple, if I own a house I should be able to decide if a person can smoke in it or not. If a bar owner wants to allow someone to smoke in HIS bar that HE owns, runs, and pays taxes on, it should be his choice! As a free person i can CHOSE if i want to visit that establishment or not. We dont need mommy and daddy government making those descesions for ALL of us, and as always attaching a finacial SPANK to every infraction. Pull back the curtain people.....its control, control, fine, control!

mikel

hey, i totally agree with you that there are more important issues. if you don't like smoke (at that time)don't go to a bar. what many people didn't realize is that there were many other items attached to that bill. they were so focused on the smoking portion that they overlooked the others. one of significance is that any person has the right to ask a persons employer for the employee's wage history, whether private or public employer/employee.

Brainiac2007

Im not a smoker and I agree that this law is ridiculous! Smokers have rights too, and if someone would just have the ambition it takes to fight our lawmakers they just may win....Why would you care if your standing next to someone smoking a cigarette, when there's so many other things in the air polluting your body?? They need to impose some type of fine for each activity one performs that brings them pleasure if this is the case. If you own a motorcycle you should have to pay a "possible death" fee, just in case you kill yourself and leave your family the bills, alcohol should be taxed to the max just like cigarettes, you should have to pay some type of "fee" if you own a boat, ATV, Camper etc ANYTHING that can cause death, because is it not true that all you other non smokers whine and cry about it because it might cause you death? Well so does everything else you do!

coasterfan

But they don't have the right to infringe on everyone else's right to breathe. I accept responsibility for the good health choices I make (or don't make). When someone else smokes near me, I have no choice but to breathe the air they have fouled. I have asthma, yet work hard to keep in shape, knowing full well that my health insurance premiums are bloated because I have to pay for millions of other people who do not take care of themselves. I would never think to impose on anyone's basic right to a clean breath. Since you're a Braniac, perhaps you can explain why smokers should be able to do that to me.

BW1's picture
BW1

So, coasterfan, when was the last time you were forced at gunpoint to enter a private establishment in which people were smoking? When you can answer that with an actual time and place, then you can talk about your right to breathe.

fedup11

It just smells to be around. It is nasty. Period

BW1's picture
BW1

and your point is?

Rod Farva

Hes saying you smell

BW1's picture
BW1

That's funny, since I don't smoke. However, he has no point because his statement, while accurate, has no relevance to the topic.

fedup11

It just smells to be around. It is nasty. Period

bobshumway92

It's a dive bar. What do you expect?

arnmcrmn

I was in a bar the other night. probably 30 people in it. Only a handful were running outside to smoke every 30 minutes. So that is most definitely NOT most people.

dire wolf

i'm guessing by the way many people wanted the girl with the dog to suffer, fines tripled, and be jailed for her unpaid dog licence fines, that he won't get much sympathy here. just don't shoot the patrons who look tougher than you coming outside. some of them do growl.

mikel

they need to ban the chicks that over do the cheap perfume as well!!!

bobshumway92

Does that cause cancer?

The Hamburglar

No. Gonorrhea.

Rod Farva

Ill take my chances, that's what penicillin is for

Licorice Schtick

Have fun, but keep in mind that penicillin doesn't work on cancer or H.I.V

planb

As a non-smoker, I don't see why it shouldn't be at the discretion of the bar owner. Post it on the door. You have a choice to patronize the place or not.

dire wolf

you are absolutely right. unfortunately, he willingly and knowingly broke the law the voters wanted because he was stubborn. In America, that means time to pay the fiddler. he should never have let the fines add up to those amounts. his fault for that.

Cowboy

Ha ha ha, smoke em if you got em! Ha ha ha, just pay your fines and wipe your tears away you big baby!

Tootsiemomma

i don't care if people smoke or don't smoke. the fact is that you are being told what to do with your own personal property/business. i don't believe this should be anyone elses business. it should be your right as a property owner to make the decision if people smoke or not. put a sign on the door to let people know that it is a smoking or non-smoking establishment. just sayin'.

happycamper01

The government does have a right but the public voted this into law, the government only enforces it. It can regulate things that go on in a private business which is why there are health regualtions in food and liquor establishments. I mean if the government didn't then people could sell you spoiled food that may or may not get you sick and there would be nothing you could do about it. The government has these laws to keep people from getting sick. So, yes, the government can regulate where people can smoke in places that are open to the public for the common good. Like it or not, it can.

BW1's picture
BW1

The government does have a right? Hmmm, ALL the things the government may do are spelled out in the Constitution - can you show me where this one is?

State governments can regulate alcohol because we passed the 21st Amendment explicitly giving them that power. It didn't cover smoking.

EricB

To Brainiac2007. The law is NOT ridiculous. There is a very good reason for it. Second hand smoke can seriously affect a persons health. You say the smokers have rights too. Smokers do NOT have the right to smoke in an area designated as a no smoking area. This is because their smoke affects the health of everyone around them. Many businesses and offices and hospitals have become non smoking places because they understand that smoking affects a person's health and the health of others around the smoker. Also, it has been proven that a non smoker is more healthy than a smoker, and is more productive at work and uses less health care benefits than a smoker. Your name suggests that you are smart, but then your ideas are not.Please look at the facts. Also, non smokers don't want to be anywhere near smokers.

BW1's picture
BW1

Brainiac shows far more intelligence here than you do. While smokers do not have the right to smoke in a no smoking area, you do not have the right to have other people's property designated a no smoking area.

If you don't want to be anywhere near smokers, don't go to businesses that allow smoking.

happycamper01

This is not a personal, private establishment. If it is open to the public then yes it can be regulated. Look at all the other health code regulations. I am sure there are some owners out there that would love to cook and sell you outdated food, hoping it is safe, and to take the chance that it will not make you sick. However, it may but he may not care. If you don't like it don't eat there but then you go to the next place and it is the same thing. The government enacted health regulations to keep people healthy and this falls under this category. An establishment open to the public is put under government regulation. This health regulation was voted on by the people and passed. The government enforces it. It is time for him to pay up. Also, I agree that most bars have not been hurt by it. What I am finding is that most smokers go outside to smoke and do not mind being respectful of nonsmokers and actually like not being in a smoke-filled bar as well. You might be surprised by how many smokers actually do not complain about this law and actually think it is a good thing.

BW1's picture
BW1

Yes it is. It is private property and a private business. It has no obligation to offer good or services it doesn't want to offer. This law is a major abrogation of property rights. No one forces anyone into any establishment at gunpoint - you have the right to choose an establishment that meets your requirements. If a property owner wants to offer people a place to drink and smoke, and those people want to pay to drink there, then it's nobody's business but the parties to the transaction. No one else's rights are implicated. That rightfully applies to the rest of your little fascist screed about regulation, and these matters are starting to be litigated in the courts on many fronts, from those who want to consume transfats to people who wish to purchase raw milk. If you feel such a need to tell other people what to do, why don't you go join the party in Cuba?

The Big Dog's back

I've got to weigh in on this and I know some of my Liberal friends will disagree. 1st I'm not a smoker, never have been. Pardon the pun but this whole cigarette thing is one big smoke screen. Sure it is difficult to breathe if your standing next to someone smoking if you have never worked in a factory or lived with someone who smokes. They created this to divert attention away from all the carcinogens put out by industries. Why do you think factories went overseas? Now they are poisoning other people instead of following the laws here. More later.

dire wolf

so cigarettes do not really cause cancer? it was the factories all along? 2nd hand smoke isn't bad for you or your child? It has no effect on a pre-born child in the mother's womb? wow. all those years of science and study proved to be a smoke screen..... thanks, dude.

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