BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state judge ruled a section of a city noise ordinance is unconstitutional in a case involving two restaurants cited for violations.
The judge ruled a provision in Bremerton’s noise ordinance is unenforceable because it infringes on freedom of speech and is “unconstitutionally vague,” The Kitsap Sun reported Sunday.
The ordinance was used to cite Brother Don’s Bar & Grill and the Dugout Sports Bar & Grill for noise violations.
Neighbors have called police to complain about live music more than 100 times since 2018, resulting in six violations between the two businesses, court documents said.
Attorney Bill Broughton argued for Brother Don’s owner Gordon Rinke that the noise ordinance was vague and relied on subjective opinions of responding police officers.
Kitsap County District Court Judge Jeffrey Jahns ruled Bremerton’s code violates the First Amendment guarantee of free speech and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The code “does not provide adequate notice of what speech is prohibited and authorizes arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement,” Jahns wrote in the ruling.
City officials need to analyze the ruling before making a decision about an appeal, city attorney Roger Lubovich said.