Standing Is Not a Crime in NY

Notwithstanding the determined efforts of New York City law enforcement, stopping to chat with another pedestrian is not a crime.

The New York Court of Appeals decided Tuesday to overturn the conviction of Matthew Jones, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on June 12, 2004. Police said other people "had to walk around" him, he wouldn't move when asked and he flailed his arms.

Standing rooted to a spot while hanging with friends is not the kind of conduct New York's disorderly conduct statute prohibits.

"Otherwise, any person who happens to stop on a sidewalk — whether to greet another, to seek directions or simply to regain one's bearings — would be subject to prosecution under this statute," the opinion said.

People who block the sidewalk are annoying, but if being annoying were a crime, few would be free to guard the jails.

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    Although it does seem to me that (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:41:13 PM EST
    standing at the base of the down escalator should at least be an infraction.

    it begins (none / 0) (#4)
    by manys on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 06:13:07 PM EST
    I'm sure this is just the first in a long line of comments advocating anything but using one's voice.

    stopping your cart (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jen M on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:51:25 PM EST
    suddenly in a crowded aisle in the grocery store!

    Better not wait for a cab (none / 0) (#3)
    by Nowonmai on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:59:50 PM EST
    Or at a street corner to cross, or at a bus stop. And woe be to the person reading an address on a piece of paper and checking to see if it's the right building! :o

    Stopping Your Brain (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 09:17:40 PM EST
    i'd be curious to know (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 12:29:03 AM EST
    how much it cost mr. jones to prove the obvious? how much it cost the taxpayers of nyc to prosecute this? how many of ny's finest sat on their asses in court, to testify in this case, instead of being on the streets, doing their jobs?

    there is a cost involved, when law enforcement decides to interpret the law for themselves, but they don't have to pay it, the rest of us do.

    Hey, those cops were probably (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 12:51:38 AM EST
    getting time and a half.  

    Let's not forget Chestnut Numero Uno (none / 0) (#8)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 10:48:34 AM EST
    He could have been a terrorist!

    Curious (none / 0) (#9)
    by TruthHurtzIndeed on Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 03:43:48 PM EST
    Clearly the gentleman was doing more than just standing with his friends otherwise, his friends would have been arrested as well.

    He was initially convicted, indicating that the DA believed that the charges were valid and worthy of prosecution and the jury found him guilty at trial. Now, after the verdict is overturned, it gets simplified down to being a "pedestrian"?