The state’s highest court has thrown out the conviction of a man who was arrested for standing on a Times Square sidewalk three years ago.
City Room reports:
Matthew Jones … was on corner of 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in
the early morning of June 12, 2004, chatting with friends as other
pedestrians tried to get by.
As a result of Mr. Jones’s behavior, “numerous pedestrians in the
area had to walk around” him and his friends, the arresting officer,
Momen Attia, wrote. Mr. Jones refused to move when asked, Officer Attia
later wrote, then tried to run away. Mr. Jones was charged with
disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The conviction was upheld by an appellate court, but today, the Court of Appeals unanimously reversed that decision.
“Nothing in the information indicates how the defendant, when he
stood in the middle of a sidewalk at 2:01 a.m., had the intent to or
recklessly created a risk of causing ‘public inconvenience, annoyance
or alarm,’” Judge [Carmen Beauchamp] Ciparick wrote.
She later added: “Something more than a mere inconvenience of
pedestrians is required to support the charge. 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.”