How to Decide If An Act Carries Public Ramifications ?
In People v. Munafo, 50 N.Y.2d 326, 428 N.Y.S.2d 924, 406 N.E.2d 780 (1980), the New York Court of Appeals examined the issue of when private disputes become public in nature so as to constitute a violation of the disorderly conduct statute as intended by the Legislature.
In Munafo, the Court distinguished between situations which are largely private disputes between individual parties, and those which "carry beyond the concern of individual disputants to a point where they had become a potential or immediate public problem." Id. at 331.
In drawing this situational "line", the Court of Appeals held that in deciding whether an act carries public ramifications, a court must assess the nature and number of people attracted by the alleged commotion, while taking into consideration the surrounding circumstances, such as the time and location of the dispute at hand. Citing, People v. Phillips, 245 N.Y. 401, 402-403, 157 N.E. 508; People v. Canner, 88 Misc. 2d 85, 388 N.Y.S.2d 812, affd. on opn below, 40 N.Y.2d 886.