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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