Criminal Conviction for Being in Parks After Closing Time in New York

In People v. Davis, 13 NY3d 17, 912 N.E.2d 1044, 884 N.Y.S.2d 665 (2009), defendant was convicted of violating a New York City Parks and Recreation Department rule that prohibited persons from being in city parks after posted closing times; except that a person may disregard the posted park closing signs upon order by a police officer or designated Department employee. The Information, in Davis, provided only that the defendant was observed in the park after hours and did not state whether a police officer or designated Department employee authorized defendant to disregard the signs and remain in the park after closing. The Court of Appeals determined that the qualifying language in the park rules statute constitutes a proviso rather than an exception; and as such, the People were not required to establish, at the pleading stage, that defendant had permission to remain in the park after closing with the express authorization from a police officer or Department employee. (See Davis, supra at 31 - 32.)