Penal Law 240.20 Sub 5 Example Case in New York

In People v. Jones, 9 NY3d 259, 878 N.E.2d 1016, 848 N.Y.S.2d 600 (2007), the defendant was charged with PL 240.20(5) for standing on a public sidewalk with a number of other individuals. Due to their conduct, numerous pedestrians had to walk around the defendant. When directed to the leave the area by the arresting officer, the defendant refused to do so. Thereafter, as the arresting officer attempted to stop the defendant, he fled the scene. In finding the factual allegations to be facially insufficient, the Court of Appeals held as follows: Nothing in the information indicates how 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." The conduct sought to be deterred under the statute is "considerably more serious than the apparently innocent" conduct of defendant here. 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 prosecutions under this statute. (Jones at 262-263.)