Court Throws Out Case of Man Arrested for Standing on Street

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.”

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.