Body talk appeal delayed Lawyers aplenty in court mean postponement.

March 14, 1991|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff

Q: What do you get when you put five lawyers in one courtroom, all working on the same case?

A: A postponement.

Such was the situation Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson in the case of the county vs. Body Talk, the controversial striptease club/pool hall in Rockdale.

Since last June, the county has been trying to shut the facility in the 8100 block of Liberty Road or to stop it from featuring nude female dancing.

But Tuesday, for the second time in five days, a case against Body Talk was postponed, this time because county attorneys have not had time to reply to defense motions.

Last Friday, a postponement in the case apparently caught everyone by surprise. Lawyers on both sides insisted that they didn't know who asked for a postponement, or why one was made.

Normally, postponements are granted only for good cause, after someone in the case makes a formal request of the county administrative judge.

Tuesday's postponement came as a result of several new motions that Harold I. Glaser, the latest attorney hired by Body Talk owner Dominic Stenti, filed Friday.

Glaser, along with Peter Callegary, is representing Stenti in an appeal of a Nov. 29, 1990, decision by District Court Judge

Kathleen Sweeney, who found Stenti guilty of numerous building-code and zoning violations.

Sweeney ordered Stenti to stop operating a club in violation of county laws and fined him more than $15,000 on the building-code violations, as well as $6,000 for the zoning violations.

Glaser filed a motion to dismiss the case against Stenti, claiming his client has suffered a double-jeopardy violation, because the state brought the same charges against Stenti and two corporations he owned.

The other motion asks for the building-code and zoning violation cases to be merged. It also asks that the zoning cases be immediately brought up on appeal from District Court. Sweeney has refused to let Stenti appeal the zoning case because he hasn't paid the $6,000 fine.

Timothy Kotroco, one of two assistant county attorneys working on the case, argued against the merger yesterday, saying it was not permissible under Maryland rules of procedure.

Kotroco also said the zoning cases would be allowed to come up on appeal, just as soon as Stenti pays the fine.

Glaser entered the case Feb. 23 and was given until March 20 to file any additional motions, according to Judge Leonard S. Jacobson. The county was given until March 30 to respond to the motions. The new trial date is April 25.

Sitting in the courtroom observing the whole affair was S. Eric DiNenna, a former county zoning commissioner who now represents Stenti in a county case seeking an injunction to close Body Talk. That injunction case, originally filed last June, was scheduled for trial Feb. 5, but DiNenna asked for a postponement that day, saying he had just been hired and needed more time to prepare.

The case was rescheduled March 8. On Feb. 20, however, notices were mailed by the clerk's office setting a new trial date for the injunction hearing, April 25, Kotroco said.

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