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

bobshumway92

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rjr58

Stop by the Pump open smoking non stop in front of Perkins cops... and they never get fined???

KnuckleDragger

They won't because the state delegated enforcement to health departments, not to law enforcement.

Factitious

From Ohio Department of Health Smoking Ban FAQ's webpage:

How do I file a complaint?
By phone: 1-866-559-OHIO (6446) [Smoking Ban Enforcement Line]
By e-mail: NoSmoke@odh.ohio.gov

Check out:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/smokefre...

for the whole story.

The Bizness

call the complaint hot line that is the only way to get a place in trouble.

BW1's picture
BW1

Or, don't be a fascist, just mind your own business, and don't patronize the place.

The Bizness

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reporter54

This smoking ban thing is ruining bar business. People that drink, usually also smoke, and non-smokers can have their own private bars if they can't deal with second-hand smoke. With all the pollution in the environment, second-hand smoke is the least of your worries. The ban is obviously just to make money for the state. And it's ridiculous. It's like banning cars which most likely pollute and harm far more than cigarettes yet we're still driving around in them and polluting the air.

The Bizness

I didn't see many bars go out of business after the ban, if anything it forced them to create nice outdoor areas for patrons to smoke.

I personally enjoy going into the bar and not having my eyes water, and lungs burn after 15 minutes.

Factitious

In fact, with the smoking ban, many people who had stopped going to bars have returned, especially to the nicer places. But this has created a niche for dives that can't or won't improve the place, so they adopt the strategy of catering to the nicotine addicted. I have no idea whether Excuses in one of those, but I do know that a business model based on doing something illegal is riskier than a legal one.

Maybe the owner's righteous indignation is genuine, or maybe it's just PR or trying to win the case in the Court of Public Opinion.

In any event, it seems he's being proved wrong.

BW1's picture
BW1

I must have missed the article in the Constitution that suspends people's rights on the basis of what you personally enjoy.

The Bizness

it's the law, get over yourself

BW1's picture
BW1

Yeah, they said that to Rosa Parks, too.

BW1's picture
BW1

This is the USA, not Cuba, get over yourself.

fedup11

People that drink usually also smoke is the dumbest comment that I've heard on this site.

The Hamburglar

You haven't been on here long. Stick around.

Capt. Ford

Rodger that.

BW1's picture
BW1

Not really - both are addictive activities. One of the hardest things to find is a non-smoking AA meeting.

fedup11

And your point is. ...

BW1's picture
BW1

that your "dumbest comment" statement ignores the facts. Bars, casinos, and other businesses that feed addictions are heavily patronized by those who engage in other addictive activities.

coasterfan

Striving for cleaner air and better health practices is not a bad idea. Whether it be for alternatives to burning fossil fuels in our cars, or second hand smoke in a bar, it makes sense to NOT be exposed to things that are known carcinogens. Many of us non-smokers put second-hand smoke in the same category as drunk driving: both are cases in which someone else's behavior choices affects OUR health in a detrimental way.

But that's not even the issue here. The bar owner knew the law, chose to not follow it. So, he chose to be fined.

BW1's picture
BW1

Except that the roads are public property, and bars are not.

Gwill

You break the rules, you pay a fine. So difficult for people to take responsibility for their actions!

bullydogs1971

I think the issue is more about a Government that thinks it has the right to legislate and regulate every aspect of human behavior....and i love the "call the hotline" comments....we are all such hypocritical pathetic creatures....we break the rules if it fits us and snitch on the ones the break the laws we agree with....not to mention there are more laws in this country then there are in the old testament....so many that we have to have a library to hold them all. We can kill our unborn without consequence but don't get caught without a seatbelt...its a fine and a minor misdemeanor....its all about the money and control....all i can say is "welcome my son....welcome tooooooo the machine.....!" We have a president that cries over the children of Sandy Hook but then repeatedly orders drone killings that results in the horrific death of children in foreign lands.....we americans are such whinny, crying, selfish, hypocritical, imature brats! No wonder the world hates us! By the way im a non-smoker, i just value freedom over tyranny. If every bar in the state took it to court and overloaded the system everything would change....just like if everyone who got a petty traffic ticket took that thing to trial the court would never be able to wade through it all....stand up people and fight the total control of every breath you take by a tyranical government gone mad before its too late!

bobshumway92

The Government didn't do this, the people did.

BW1's picture
BW1

that doesn't make it any better.

rickross2

That is a very true statement. Big Government is going to be what breaks us apart permanently. We are on a slippery slope!

mikel

your taxpaying, voting friends have brought this destruction upon you! thank them and do not hate the state for following their wishes and implementing the law.

bullydogs1971

I demand a recount!!! Oh wait, that's right, i dont remember the people voting on this...just our congressmen... and if you have me believe that they vote for the majority of the people i will have to excuse myself and grab a tissue! Im laughing so hard im cryin! Like i said...a recount! Send a postcard to every citizen of Ohio for a vote, count them, then make the decision.

mikel

ohio measure 5 was voted on BY the public in november 2006. maybe you forgot to send in your absentee ballot? it was the voting public that passed this law.

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