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Constitutional Law – Due process; vagueness; liquor licenses

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//April 9, 2012//

Constitutional Law – Due process; vagueness; liquor licenses

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//April 9, 2012//

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Constitutional Law
Due process; vagueness; liquor licenses

Wis. Stat. sec. 125.12(2)(ag)(2), which provides that a liquor license can be revoked or suspended if the holder “keeps or maintains a disorderly or riotous, indecent or improper house,” is not unconstitutionally vague.

“[W]e cannot conclude that the disorderly house statute was unconstitutionally applied to the Nasty Habit. As the district court correctly observed, under any interpretation of the statute, the Nasty Habit is ‘something less than [an] ideal candidate[ ] to challenge the boundaries of Wisconsin’s disorderly house statute.’ Indeed, there is no doubt that the conduct described above was disorderly, riotous, indecent or improper: employees fought with patrons; brawls spilled onto the streets; underaged girls hid in the basement to escape police detection; and a patron required detoxification because he was overserved.

6 Such behavior falls squarely within the ambit of the statute, particularly given the public health and safety concerns involved.”

“To succeed on a facial vagueness challenge, a complainant must demonstrate that the law is impermissibly vague in all of its applications. Village of Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc., 455 U.S. 489, 497 (1982). As we have concluded that Wis. Stat. § 125.12(2)(ag)(2) is not unconstitutionally vague in its as-applied context with regard to the Nasty Habit, there is no need to examine Hegwood’s facial attack; it cannot succeed as we have identified that the statute is sufficiently defined in at least one application.”

Affirmed.

11-1999 Hegwood v. City of Eau Claire

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Conley, J., Flaum, J.

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