Are Words Along With Physical Action Sufficient to Support a Charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration ?
In People v. Case (42 NY2d 98) the Court of Appeals held that the physical interference must be in part physical in nature and that mere words standing alone are insufficient, holding that a CB radio transmission warning to other motorists as to the highway location of a speed check point does not constitute the crime of obstructing governmental administration.
The Court of Appeals in the Matter of Davan L. (91 NY2d 88) further held that words coupled with physical action are sufficient to support a charge of obstructing governmental administration where a 15-year-old boy interfered with an undercover narcotics buy after being warned not to get involved, riding his bicycle toward the drug buy location and warning the participants that the cops were coming.
Matter of Carlos G., 215 AD2d 165 [where the Court held that a juvenile delinquency petition charging obstructing governmental administration was sufficient which alleged that a youth punched an officer and yelled obscenities while the officers were attempting to arrest his mother];
People v. Jimenez, 138 Misc 2d 867 [where the court held an information sufficient which alleged that the defendants placed themselves between a police officer and a person the police officer sought to question.
To the contrary, in People v. Offen (96 Misc 2d 147 [cited with approval by the Court of Appeals in Davan, supra]), the court dismissed an obstructing governmental administration information which alleged that the defendant upon being informed that he was to receive a summons for littering, swore at the officers, refused a request for identification and walked away from the officers.
A question remains whether fleeing a police officer conducting an investigation is within the meaning of physical interference as that term has been defined by the courts.