Musicians ticketed for being too loud, trial set for the summer

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Three Richmond musicians could face jail time for being too loud. It's all part of the city's new noise ordinance. The law has only been on the books two months and already nearly 40 tickets have been issued.

Two weeks ago, they performed at a private residence and got tickets under the new noise ordinance. Their attorney says it won't hold up in court.

They're known as "Little Master" and now the Richmond band ticketed for being too loud.

"The cop said I could put you in handcuffs and take you to jail right now," said Leah Clancy.

Back on April 4, the group was playing at a house party on West Clay street.

"Just in the middle of that song we just looked up and the cops were there," said Mike Bourlotos.

Tim Morris says they planned to stop at 11 that night as a courtesy to neighbors.

"We played most of our songs. Played for about 30 minutes and it was a little after 11:00 p.m. the cops showed up," said Morris.

The band says at least six officers came to the house and not only did they threaten to arrest them but took it  a step further and searched the entire house.

"They just seemed really eager to find something wrong,"  said Clancy.

Under the new law, between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., loud noise can only be heard by the person making the noise. Since Richmond City Council passed it, 36 tickets have been written. 25 for loud music complaints at houses and apartments. 11 involved loud car stereos or mufflers.

Councilman Charles Samuels says the ordinance is under review to see how to ensure whatever is constitutional, enforceable and reasonable.

"People who live in the city, and that includes me, need a noise ordinance that can be enforced, but instead what the city council has given us is something that is such a joke that is so badly written it can't possibly be enforced," said the band's attorney, Steven Benjamin.

The musicians, and the house renter who was also ticketed, are expected back in court for trial this summer. They face up to six months in jail and a thousand dollar fine.

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