Noise Ordinance Struck Down in New York

In People v. New York Trap Rock Corp., 57 NY2d 371 (1982), the Court of Appeals struck down a town noise ordinance as being void for vagueness. The Court said that the town noise control ordinance was unconstitutionally void for vagueness because the vague definitions of the conduct prohibited failed to provide a person with adequate warning of what the law required, which rendered the ordinance susceptible to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. The noise ordinance in the New York Trap Rock case, did include ten standards to be considered in determining whether "unnecessary noise" existed in any particular case. However the Court said that even the ten "specific" standards of the ordinance could not save it from its vagueness. The Court found the standards were nothing but abstract lines of inquiry, none of which provided a guideline for the perplexed would be noisemaker.