nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,
nancylebov
nancylebov

Philadelphia clamps down on fortune tellers

Philadelphia shuts down 18 fortune tellers:

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/pa/main_line_delaware/20070427_Who_knew__Law_shuts_city_psychics.html

An editorial arguing that it's basically anti-gypsy prejudice:

http://philadelphia.about.com/b/a/257666.htm

I don't know what proportion of Philly fortunetellers are gypsies, but the argument that some of them are committing large-scale fraud doesn't wash. If that's the problem (and there doesn't seem to be a major fraud that set this off), then go after fortunetellers that are looting people, not those who charge ordinary rates for entertainment.

Here's the law
§ 7104. Fortune telling.

(a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he pretends for gain or lucre, to tell fortunes or predict future events, by cards, tokens, the inspection of the head or hands of any person, or by the age of anyone, or by consulting the movements of the heavenly bodies, or in any other manner, or for gain or lucre, pretends to effect any purpose by spells, charms, necromancy, or incantation, or advises the taking or administering of what are commonly called love powders or potions, or prepares the same to be taken or administered, or publishes by card, circular, sign, newspaper or other means that he can predict future events, or for gain or lucre, pretends to enable anyone to get or to recover stolen property, or to tell where lost property is, or to stop bad luck, or to give good luck, or to put bad luck on a person or animal, or to stop or injure the business or health of a person or shorten his life, or to give success in business, enterprise, speculation, and games of chance, or to win the affection of a person, or to make one person marry another, or to induce a person to make or alter a will, or to tell where money or other property is hidden, or to tell where to dig for treasure, or to make a person to dispose of property in favor of another.

(b) Advertising as evidence.--Any publication contrary to this section may be given in evidence to sustain the indictment.

(c) Competency of witnesses.--Any person whose fortune may have been told shall be a competent witness against the person charged with violating this section


I wonder if this covers spell books--that would have some interesting first amendment implications.
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