Man is guilty of smoking in public -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Man is guilty of smoking in public

February 18, 2004

Bainbridge - In January, a Bainbridge City ordinance went into affect that banned smoking in public buildings. One man challenged that ordinance, and now faces a fine and possibly jail time.

Is it legal or not to smoke in public places like the huddle house in Bainbridge? Bert Steen was looking for an answer to that question today in court. He said, "I'm going to contend that I'm not guilty because of the way they enacted the ordinance."

Why does Steen disagree with the ordinance? Because business owners didn't get any say so in the decision. He said, "It's not about smokers having rights, and non-smokers having rights. It's about business owners making that decision and big brother staying out of it."

Robbie Hill is one of those Business owners. She's supporting Steen in court. She said, "A lot of the people here in Bainbridge are not happy for the council decision for the smoking ban."

But a judge didn't feel Steen should have taken it upon himself to disobey the law. He found Steen guilty.

Steen says the battle isn't over. "I'm going to appeal it to the state court," he said.

Until a different ruling is made, Steen says he'll obey the ordinance and won't smoke in the Huddle House or any other public building in Bainbridge. He has ten days to appeal to the state court. While waiting on the appeal process he must pay a fine of $100 or spend 10 days in jail.

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