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Montrose Voice, No. 276, February 7, 1986
File 007
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Montrose Voice, No. 276, February 7, 1986 - File 007. 1986-02-07. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 21, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4701/show/4682.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1986-02-07). Montrose Voice, No. 276, February 7, 1986 - File 007. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4701/show/4682

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Montrose Voice, No. 276, February 7, 1986 - File 007, 1986-02-07, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 21, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/4701/show/4682.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Montrose Voice, No. 276, February 7, 1986
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
  • Wyche, Linda
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date February 7, 1986
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 007
Transcript 6 MONTROSE VOICE / FEBRUARY 7, 1986 Patrons Exonerated of Lewdness Charges Arrested at Mary's By Pete Diamond Montrose Voice Staff Reporter Last September 22, at approximately 2:00 a.m., four officers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission entered Mary's bar in the 1000 block of Westheimer and arrested four people on charges of public lewdness. The men were taken to the county courthouse, but later transferred to the Harris County Jail where they were made to take blood tests to determine the presence of the AIDS virus. John Paul Barnich, an attorney representing two of the men, acknowledged that one of his clients did indeed have AIDS. However, a person does not lose all of his rights when arrested, Barnich said, and should not be made a "guinea pig" by being made to take a blood test. Barnich also questioned the need of the blood test in this case, especially when AIDS test results are generally not available for at least five days. Clyde Williams, the defending attorney for the other two men, said this was the first incident she knew of in Harris County where an arrested person was made to take an AIDS blood test. But as Williams explained, much of the events surrounding the arrests and the trials of her two clients involved "inconsistencies." For example, one of the TABC agents present during the arrests said no "non- agents" accompanied the officers into Mary's. However, TABC officers earlier said they brought a photographer with them (who was reported to be a friend of one of the agents) '"in case any gang fights occurred along Westheimer,'" Williams said. She maintains that her clients, whohad been living together about four and a half years, "were having drinks with friends ... and were not engaged in any type of sexual behavior." But TABC officers testified to the contrary, justifying their charges that Williams' clients were "knowingly engage(d) in an act of sexual contact with intent to arouse and gratify the sexual desire of (defendant) ... by rubbing his hands on the genitals of (defendant) in a public place. ..." Noting further inconsistencies during the trial, Williams said TABC agents were "vague" in describing the layout of Mary's and could not fully agree as to where the defendants were standing in the bar when they were arrested. In talking with jurors following both trials, Williams said they did not believe the agents largely because of the numerous inconsistencies in their testimony. State prosecuter Al Myrtle claims "it was never an issue" whether the alleged incident occurred or not, but says a dispute between witnesses about what they saw created reasonable doubt in the jurors' minds about the guilt of the defendants. The two separate trials Williams defended concluded on January 28. Barnich's clients, both of whom had been tried earlier in the month, were found guilty, but given "lenient" probationary periods. In both of Williams' cases, the defendants were found not guilty, verdicts which even Williams said surprised her somewhat. Although she said her clients came across as "very credible," some of the people on the two six-member juries felt homosexuality was a sin and others were disturbed about the nature of the case. She added that in the second trial, Myr tle became more determined to prove the defendant guilty. Pictures of the leather shop at Mary's and various items sold there were shown to jurors. According to Williams, one juror did not appreciate being shown the pictures and questioned their relevancy to the trial. "The only reason the pictures were shown, I felt, was to enrage and shock the people on the jury," Williams said. Despite this, "the jurors were still able to separate the issues and fairly try the case." Myrtle said while it was acknowledged during the trial that the two defendants were gay and that they were living together, these factors were not an issue. Instead, the issue was the conduct of the men, which Myrtle said is a crime regardless of the individual's relationship to one another. Until the Texas sodomy statute is repealed, Williams advises that bar patrons be careful about the amount of physical contact they make with others. TABC officers work in plainclothes and are authorized to carry weapons, she added. For a person facing charges of lewdness, Williams said it can be an embarrassing, stressful situation. When her clients first approached her about handling the case, Williams said they were "upset and distraught about the arrests and the AIDS test." It's easy to plead guilty and pay a fine, she says, but "it takes a certain amount of moral courage" to stand up and fight the charges. 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