City Desk

Triumphant Outcast Psychic Eyes Bethesda Comeback

Nick Nefedro

Nick Nefedro

Nick Nefedro, the Gypsy psychic who challenged Montgomery County's fortune-telling ban and won, tells City Desk that he plans to come back to Bethesda and start looking for a place to re-open his psychic shop. 

Well, just as soon as the time for filing an appeal is up. The county has 90 days to dispute the June 10 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling, which found the county law an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

The appellate court rejected the county's argument that fortune-telling is "inherently fraudulent," writing, "While we recognize that some fortunetellers may make fraudulent statements, just as some lawyers or journalists may, we see nothing in the record to suggest that fortunetelling always involves fraudulent statements. Indeed, fortunetellers, like magicians or horoscope writers, are able to provide entertainment to their customers or some other benefit that does not deceive those who receive their speech."

One wonders, incidentally, if fortune tellers should object to being lumped in with lawyers and journalists!

"I felt it was my civil rights," says Nefedro, who now lives in New York, "it was a question of freedom of speech, a question of freedom of religion, and my civil rights as a Romani Gypsy. I felt that ruling was, I guess, all of that."

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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