Club Hires Lawyer to Fight Obscenity Charges
Anderson, R. Michael, The Florida Times Union
The owners of Shades nightclub in Orange Park have hired
prominent civil rights attorney William J. Sheppard to fight
obscenity charges stemming from a police raid at the club last
Court appearances are scheduled Tuesday for the owners, Haney
M. Sweda and Bernard H. Smith, club manager Grady B. Durrance,
and 13 dancers.
Sweda said Monday that Sheppard had been hired to defend the
club and its dancers against charges ranging from lewd and
lascivious behavior to offering for prostitution.
Undercover officers from the Clay County Sheriff's Office and
the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office raided the Wells Road club on
Dec. 10 and hauled 12 dancers away in handcuffs primarily on
charges of lewd and lascivious behavior.
A 13th dancer was arrested a week later and charged with
violating the adult entertainment ordinance and offering for
But Sweda insists he and his employees did not break any laws.
He said their constitutional rights were violated by police.
"We're not paying any fines," he said Monday. "We didn't do
Whether a judge believes that will be up to Sheppard, a
Jacksonville attorney who has defended Death Row inmates,
topless-bar owners, drug dealers and teenagers trying to get
abortions without their parents' consent.
Sheppard, who is responsible for major reforms in Florida
prisons and jails, first gained major media attention in the
mid-1970s when he represented inmates in the Duval County jail
in a class action suit that ultimately forced Jacksonville city
officials to build a new jail to end overcrowding. …