Remain in Park After Dark Conviction in New York

In People v. Davis, 13 NY3d 17, 912 NE2d 1044, 884 NYS2d 665 [2009], the Court of Appeals specifically held that the "main goal of the interpretative rules governing exceptions and provisos is to discover the intention of the enacting body." (Davis, 13 NY3d at 31.) As such, the Davis Court upheld the conviction of a defendant who was convicted of remaining in a park after dark in violation of 56 RCNY 1-03, even though the accusatory instrument did not specifically allege facts to disapprove the statement in the rule--"except such sign may be disregarded upon order by a Police Officer or designated Department employee." (56 RCNY 1-03 [c] [2].) In determining that such language was a "proviso" and not an "exception," the Davis Court held that "as a matter of common sense and reasonable pleading" the People would not be required to disprove this element because "such information is uniquely within a defendant's knowledge, and to require the People to plead and negate the existence of the relevant permission would require them to go to 'intolerable lengths.' " (Davis, 13 NY3d at 31-32.) Further, the Court held that it could be reasonably inferred that the Parks Department intended such language in the statute to be a "proviso" which would be raised as a defense by the defendant at trial. (Id.)