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City of Newark v. Humphres

Decided: March 13, 1967.

CITY OF NEWARK, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
JOY HUMPHRES, AMTULLA KHAN, AND ROSE PORTH, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



Schapira, J.c.c.

Schapira

Defendants, three female performers, appeal their convictions by the Newark Municipal Court, R.R. 3:10-2, resulting from complaints brought by the Newark Police Department charging them with violations of c. 20, ยง 20.7(p), pars. 1 and 3 of the compiled ordinances, which provide in pertinent part:

"Any person who commits any of the following acts shall be deemed to have committed the offense of disorderly conduct:

(p) Any person who performs, shows, or exhibits, acts, or represents on any public stage, * * * the commission of actions that shall be lewd, obscene or indecent, and specifically:

1. Any female performer who, in the presence of the audience, removes her clothing so as to * * * give the illusion of nudeness, of the lower abdomen, genital organs, buttocks or breasts;

* * *

3. [A]ny performer who performs any dance, episode or musical entertainment, the purpose or effect of which is to direct the attention of the spectator to the breasts, buttocks or genital organs of the performer."

Defendants Amtulla Khan, Joy Humphres and Rose Porth were charged with disrobing in the presence of an audience so as to give the illusion of nudeness. Miss Khan and Miss Humphres were also charged with performing a dance, the effect of which was to direct attention to the breasts, buttocks or genital organs.

Witnesses for the city, Lieutenant Dougherty and Policewoman Mason, both of the Newark Police Department, and Detective Magnusson, an obscenity investigator of the Essex County Sheriff's Office, testified as to the performances by Miss Humphres, Miss Khan and Miss Porth on the evening of November 22, 1966, and the parts thereof which they considered lewd, obscene and indecent. These witnesses observed their performances from about the twelfth row, also having observed the same show on the previous day from the mezzanine, but at that time they found no illusion of nudeness, nor was the performance rated offensive or objectionable.

With respect to Miss Humphres, the testimony depicted her entrance upon the stage in an evening dress and long gloves. Accompanied by music, she commenced dancing, which involved sequences of disrobement, undulation of her body, wiggling of her buttocks, drawing of her hands over her body and doing backbends which, according to Lieutenant Dougherty, drew his attention to her breasts. Toward the completion of her performance she was attired in a transparent bra with pasties, and transparent briefs with cloth coverings over the genital organs and center of the buttocks. It was the opinion of the witnesses that she appeared nude.

Miss Humphres testified that her dance, which was artistic, acrobatic and not undulating, lasted approximately ten minutes, the last three minutes of which included backbends, spins and ...


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