Judge Declines To Dimiss Charges In Weirs Beach 'Free The Nipple' Case

Nov 21, 2016

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Three women ticketed for going topless at a Weirs Beach earlier this year will get a trial after a judge rejected their motion to dismiss the case on Constitutional grounds.

The women argued that their conduct -- topless sunbathing and yoga -- amounted to political speech with artistic value.

Belknap county Judge James Carroll disagreed, ruling that Laconia's ordinance prohibiting women from exposing their nipples doesn't go too far in limiting speech. Carroll also referred to the women's push to go topless -- they are part of the nationwide movement known as Free The Nipple -- as "the defendant's crusade."

Attorney Dan Hynes represents the women. He says the ruling gives him little optimism about the coming trial, but he anticipates his clients will fight on.

"We do expect that they will be found guilty, and should that occur after sentencing, then I expect at least one of the defendants will appeal this case up to the New Hampshire Supreme Court."

The Belknap county court dismissed a similar case last year on the grounds that the town of Gilford lacked the authority to prohibit women from going topless.

Lawmakers rejected a bill last year to prohibit the public exposure of female nipples.