Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Was Loitering and I Didn't Even Know It. Courts: Err, That's Not Okay

Stonewall , by David Carter (2005). Shocking. So is NY Law. Did you know you are not allowed to be [sic] according to the law? Don't worry, that part of the code was struck down by a 4 to 3 margin of the Court of Appeals of New York in 1973. Yah, 3 judges dissented. Thought making it illegal to just be was okay. You actually have to explain to the police officer why you are in order for it not to be a crime. They call this crime loitering.

That part they got in '73 was NY Penal Code § 240.35 (6). Section 240.35 (2) lasted another decade. That was the part about "loitering for the purpose of engaging in deviate sex". Once the consensual sodomy laws went bye bye in People v. Onofre, "loitering for the purpose" couldn't be that bad, right? So the Court of Appeals struck it down in People v. Uplinger (1983). Ha. I just found that it went to the Supreme Court (New York v. Uplinger, 1984). They held that the writ of certiorari is dismissed as improvidently granted . So the statute remains down.

Next, § 240.35(7), "loiters or remains in any transportation facility, or is found sleeping therein, and is unable to give a satisfactory explanation of his presence," came under fire in People v. Clark (1987). The New York Supreme Court struck down the statute on 14th Amendment (due process) grounds.

see also Chicago v. Morales, in which the US Supreme Court struck down another loitering law in 1999.

Loiter: to remain in an area for no obvious reason, Merriam Webster.

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