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Attorneys seek opinion on status of billiards hall

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

The owner of a local pool hall who has been cited previously for violating Paducah's smoking ban may get a reprieve from further court appearances. 

Dickie Todd, owner of Side Pockets Billiards, has been through three sets of court proceedings for violating the local ordinance. His son has also been cited. Police visited Side Pockets again in 2013, citing Todd once more, but this time the county attorney's office and defense attorney Jeremy Ian Smith plan to ask the Kentucky Attorney General's Office for an opinion that could decide if Todd's business falls under the smoking ban.

"If the AG believes he's exempt, and they review his business records, he will be exempt from the law," Assistant County Attorney Todd Jones said. "An AG's opinion isn't legally binding, but rather advisory."

Todd was set to go to trial for the latest charge on Friday, but the two parties put in a mutual order to delay the trial by two months to await the opinion. Tobacco retailers are exempt from the city's smoking ban, and if Attorney General Jack Conway's office believes Side Pockets is qualified to be a tobacco retailer, the business won't receive any more citations for smoking on the premises.

Annually, Todd inventories about 2,000 cigarettes, along with 200 small cigars and more than 14 pounds of chewing tobacco. He pays an alcohol and tobacco tax to the state each year, Smith said.

Todd himself has been cited three times - twice in 2008 and once in 2009 - for violations of the smoking ban. He's paid $175 in fees. Todd's son, Dusty Todd, was cited in 2011. If Dickie Todd were to be cited three times in one calendar year, the violation would become a misdemeanor and he would face jail time and the revocation of his business license.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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