Andrew McCullough's Blog

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

What a day!

September 5, 2012 Today I argued my first case in the New York State Court oif Apopeals. I grew up in Albany, the State Capital. When I was young,my mother's best friend was a deputy clerk in the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. When I became an attorney, it was a distant dream to appear there. Today it came true. New York has a sales tax on admissions to places of amusement, but not on admissions to a place where the program consists of choreographed dance performances. I still have a seconmd home in New York state and go there in the summer when I can. Sometimes I drop by the exotic dance club run by old friends of mine. Several years ago a state tax auditor told them that they owed a lot of money for admission taxes becauase their dance show was not the kind of dance show that the law was designed to exempt. They disagreed and hired a tax lawyer to contest it. After a while they realized their tax lawyer didn't undersand the business; and they asked me to step in. I hired a widely known expeert in exotic dance to testify that the dance programs of this establishment were indeed the kind of performances exempt from tax. It has been a long road. We won the first round, and the State appealed, where we lost. We had to pay the tax and sue to get it back. The court again ruled for the state, and the only chance was to get a hearing before the State's highest court, which does not accept many cases. Nevertheless, they accepted mine, and today we argued it. A decision is due in a couple of months. We think the state should not make value judgments on what kind of performances should be taxed based on whether the tax collector likes it. We think the First Amendment gives us equal footing with other kinds of dance, and we told them so. We think the arguments went well. The press has been calling all day for interviews, and I was FINALLY quoted today in the New York Times, one of my goals in my porfessional life. This is, of course, just one more aspect of my campaign to bring more freeddom to this wonderful country. Join me in my crusade. Remind a friend that I am running for Utah attorney gehral. Mkae a donation. get a yard sign or bumper sticker and display it. We have nothing to lose but out chains! In closing, I want to acknowledge the loss of a good friend and ally, Brian Barnard who died unexpectedly yesterday. He will be sorely missed; but we need to do the best we can to carry on. I intend to do so. RIP, Brian.


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