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Origins of § 5-68-204

 

Acts 1957, No. 38, §§ 1-4 (February 13, 1957)

A.S.A. 1947, §§ 41-3558 -- 41-3561

Acts 2005, No. 1994, § 351

 

This law was passed in 1957, the same year that Governor Orval Faubus used the Arkansas National Guard to try to stop black students from attending Little Rock Central High School.  In other words, we are still criminalizing the human body based on the hate-filled beliefs of the 1950’s.  Our society has evolved; this law has not.

 

The following article is from the January 27, 1957 issue of Times Daily, which can be viewed at

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LCMsAAAAIBAJ&sjid=U54FAAAAIBAJ&pg=4897%2C6181235:

 

Man Arrested In Possible Nudist Colony Operation

FORREST CITY, Ark., Jan. 26 (AP)–An elderly man identified as a Fort Smith resident was arrested here today on charges in connection with operation of what may be a nudist colony.  He was identified as Gordon Hughes Satterfield and posted a 1,000 cash bond following his arrest.  St. Francis County Sheriff Carl Campbell said Satterfield was a caretaker for Wildwood Lodge, located in a remote section about 10 miles northeast of Forrest City and about 50 miles west of Memphis, Tenn.  The sheriff said he went to the camp, which is surrounded by a canvas-covered fence, to make the arrest but Satterfield already had gone to Forrest City to confer with an attorney.  Arkansas does not have an anti-nudist law designed particularly to prohibit nudist colonies.  It does have a statute prohibiting indecent exposure in a public place and Atty. Gen. Bruce Bennett said he took the position that nudism at the alleged colony constituted indecent exposure.  Forrest City residents have wondered for several months about the so-called hunting lodge located in the remote area near the St. Francis River.  On weekends, they reported seeing a large number of automobiles with out-of-state licenses congregated at the camp.

The following was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_City,_Arkansas, however, this entry has since been deleted:

 

An incident in 1957 at Wildwood Lodge, about 10 miles northeast of Forrest City, attracted widespread publicity when it was discovered that Gordon Satterfield was operating a nudist camp.  Satterfield was arrested but could not be charged because the nudism occurred in an enclosed area on private property.  This led Arkansas legislators to draft a law which made it a crime to have "private parts exposed in the presence of one (1) or more persons of the opposite sex as a form of social practice" (Article 5-68-204).  It is noteworthy that same-sex nudity was exempt.  The law was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

The following is from

http://dpg.lib.berkeley.edu/webdb/meiklejohn/meikcase?sortno=0401&caseno=&title=&desc=&sortno=0401

(look for 490.10 near bottom of page):

Arkansas v. Satterfield. (Forrest City Ct.) 1957:  Def.-owner of Widwood Lodge, nudist camp arrested, charged with indecent exposure and exhibiting obscene literature.  Ark. statute makes advocacy and/or practice of nudism punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.  At trial, police testified saw no "indecency".  Convicted of possessing obscene literature; $100 fine.  Indecent exposure charge withdrawn.