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Court Throws Out Case of Man Arrested for Standing on Street

5:14 PM EST on November 20, 2007

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 inthe early morning of June 12, 2004, chatting with friends as otherpedestrians tried to get by.As a result of Mr. Jones’s behavior, “numerous pedestrians in thearea had to walk around” him and his friends, the arresting officer,Momen Attia, wrote. Mr. Jones refused to move when asked, Officer Attialater wrote, then tried to run away. Mr. Jones was charged withdisorderly 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 hestood in the middle of a sidewalk at 2:01 a.m., had the intent to orrecklessly created a risk of causing ‘public inconvenience, annoyanceor alarm,’” Judge [Carmen Beauchamp] Ciparick wrote.

She later added: “Something more than a mere inconvenience ofpedestrians is required to support the charge. Otherwise, any personwho happens to stop on a sidewalk — whether to greet another, to seekdirections or simply to regain one’s bearings — would be subject toprosecution under this statute.”

A fitting end to a ridiculous case brought by a city where many don't get ticketed, much less arrested, for killing others with their cars.

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