Our Advice: Drive a Crook Crazeee Wear a Wire. Get yourself a small digital voice recorder and keep it handy. Protect yourself when you talk to the Ravenazis or the Coeymanazis, when you enter their dens, when they approach you. New York State is a “one-party state” which means that if you are a party to a conversation you can tape the conversation without having to tell anyone. They’re crazy-paranoid now that they know we know they can be taped. If they behave themselves—which is highly unlikely—they have nothing to fear; if they don’t behave—which is very likely—you’ve got evidence and they have a problem. Ask mayor John Bruno and Cathy Deluca…they know!
Ravena Law Is Unconstitutional: Violates Citizens’ Protected Constitutional Rights
Village of Ravena Posts a “No Loitering” Sign on Main Street Gazebo.
Part Two: Ravena’s Laws Are Unconstitutional—No Loitering? How the village of Ravena, the Coeymans Police Department, and a Jerky-Boy District Attorney, P. David Soares cooperate to violate your rights! It’s all in violation of the United States Constitution and your rights!
The elected members of the Ravena, New York, village board have again demonstrated their profound ignorance of basic constitutional rights that every person in the United States of America is guaranteed. Ignorant elected officials make vague and illegal laws that invite discriminatory and retaliatory enfocement by a biased police department.
First of all, it’s absolutely ridiculous to put up a gazebo in a highly visible place right in the middle of the village and then to post a warning sign that prohibits its use! Think of it this way: By definition a gazebo is “a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area, typically used for relaxation or entertainment” and is usually situated in a spot that provides a pleasant view while offering shelter from the sun. shelter from the elements, a place to meet, or simply a place to relax. So why would the village of Ravena erect a gazebo and then post a warning tantamount to forbidding its use based on a local nonsense law?
In Article II “Rules of Conduct” [Adopted on May 28, 1934 by Ord. No. 1 [footnote omitted]] includes § 83 – 10. Riotous assembly, § Obscene language or conduct, and especially § 83 – 13 Unnecessary congregation, the village law that is referenced in the sign placed on the Main Street gazebo. § 83 – 13 reads in its entirety:
§ 83 – 13. Unnecessary congregation.
No persons shall unnecessarily congregate upon the sidewalks or streets or street corners in the vicinity of any church or other public place. [footnote omitted]
So what would the person of average intelligence make of this idiotic verbage? The words “unnecessarily” immediately caught my attention. Isn’t “unnecessarily” subject to a really broad and vague interpretation? “Congregate” is another troublesome word in this constitutionally unenforceable law. What does congregate mean, anyway, as used in the law. And if you can’t “congregate” on sidewalks or streets or street corners, that leaves very few other places to “congregate.” Well, that leaves alleyways, abandoned buildings, parks, vacant lots, any other public area that is not a “sidewalk,” “street,” or “street corner.” In fact, where you can congregate is just about anywhere mischief can be done ‘safely.’ And according to this Ravena law you’d better watch out for the Coeymans cops after church when you “congregate” “unnecessarily” on the street in front of the church or in the church parking lot. According to the Ravena law, you will be loitering and subject to a ticket (depending on who you are, of course; law enforcement in Ravena-Coeymans is highly biased).
“A person is guilty of loitering when he/she…loiters.”
Even the New York Penal Law § 240.35 Loitering, despite its redundant phrasing “A person is guilty of loitering when he…loiters.” Brilliant language skills of the New York State legislators. Makes sense, doesn’t it? But in a law that kind of language can cause problems on an appeal or constitutional challenge, as we’ll see below.
Nevertheless, the New York loitering law is somewhat specific but not immune from challenge in that it notifies the citizen that he or she is guilty of loitering if he or she “wanders about in a public place for the purpose of begging…or gambling…or sexual conduct…or sexual behavior of a deviant nature;” or if a person is in a place and “masked…or disguised…or in unusual or unnatural attire.” The NY law also defines loitering as when a person is on “or remains in or about school grounds…with no legitimate reason for being there,” or is present a transportation facility “for the purpose of soliciting or sale of merchandise or services…or for the purpose of entertaining,” or is “in a transportation facility…and is unable to give a satisfactory explanation of his presence.” Loitering is a violation.
Reading this law anyone of average intelligence will be able to understand the behavior that might earn him or her a ticket in New York state but anyone of average intelligence will also recognize that the terms of the law are so vague and ambiguous that the can cause any prosecutor really big problems when confronted with a smart defendant or defense attorney…most likely the prosecutor will opt not to prosecute – – as is often the case – – and just drop the charge or make a deal.
But back to the Ravena so – called “loitering” law. The Ravena law is conspicuously unconstitutional for the reasons we discuss below and the United States Supreme Court agrees. Here’s why (without going into the details of the individual cases, which we have studied for this article):
The Supreme Court has held that such ordinances violate the First Amendment of the United States Constitution because they offend the protected rights and freedoms of association, assembly, and expression. The Court has also held that such ordinances are unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because they arbitrarily restrict personal liberties. Such ordinances as the Ravena law are unconstitutionally vague because the law fails “to establish standards for the police and public that are sufficient to guard against the arbitrary deprivation of liberty interests” by biased police officers. The Court also found that such ordinances are unconstitutional because they violate the Fourth Amendment by allowing a law enforcement officer to arrest a citizen suspect without probable cause. The Supreme Court held that “the freedom to loiter for innocent purposes is part of the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Here’s a bit of history for you: The legal background of loitering laws go back way before the American Constitution. In fact, laws criminalizing vagrancy and loitering go back to the time of the Black Plague in England more than 500 years ago. Back then the laws had an economic purpose: preventing laborers from traveling to neighboring communities where labor was scarce, where they could demand a higher wage. As time went on and poor populations increased and the unemployed filled English roads to rob those who traveled them, loitering laws became a tool for crime prevention and criminal punishment.
The loitering law allows police to “control persons who, although not traditionally considered criminals, were nonetheless considered undesirable.”
Today loitering laws still focus on crime prevention. The most common reasons for passing loitering laws include stopping drug dealers and prostitutes from frequenting an area, preventing obstruction in public passageways, and of course allowing police to “control persons who, although not traditionally considered criminals, were nonetheless considered undesirable.” In fact, the Supreme Court held in a landmark case, Thornhill v. Alabama, that the statute in question was too broad and “prohibited otherwise lawful conduct that would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment. The Court also believed that the statute violated due process by granting the police too much discretion and “readily lent itself to harsh and discriminatory enforcement by local prosecuting officials, against particular groups deemed to merit their displeasure.” Sound familiar RCS residents?
This type of law, the United States Supreme Court believes, “bears the hallmark of a police state.”
In another case, the Supreme Court ruled that “cities and states could not pass loitering laws simply as a way of increasing their power to arrest, and required that the state narrowly define who fell within the ordinance and ensure that the person’s actual conduct at least in some way constituted a recognizable offense.
A municipality’s anti-loitering ordinance criminalized innocent conduct and that was the downfall of the ordinance
In another important case the Supreme court ruled that the ordinance was “unconstitutionally vague because it subjected the exercise of a right of assembly to an unascertainable standard, and is unconstitutionally broad because it authorized the punishment of constitutionally protected conduct.” In other words, the court again found that a municipality’s anti-loitering ordinance criminalized innocent conduct and that was the downfall of the ordinance.
The Supreme Court in its rulings on the loitering laws has consistently held that loitering laws without a separate criminal element are overly vague and thus invalid.
In a recent landmark decision that buttressed and emphasized the Supreme Court’s attitude against loitering laws the Court stuck with the presumption that “the freedom to loiter for innocent purposes is part of the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” With those words the highest court of the land placed the freedom to loiter within the greater “liberty” concept of “life, liberty, or property” within the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. A further effect of this is that it the Supreme Court recognized that discriminatory enforcement is the product of vague laws and the rulings prevent biased police from discriminating or retaliating against innocent persons. In other words, a law like the Ravena nonsense code would leave the police free to act out their biases, by unfairly targeting, dispersing, and arresting anyone or any group they disfavor. Sound familiar?
And by the way: The fact of being a young person doesn’t mean that you don’t have constitutional rights. You receive those rights at birth!
This should come as a very clear warning to the village of Ravena and its bunch of ignorant and useless fixtures called the village board (mayor John Bruno, Nancy Warner, William Bailey, Martin Case, Rocco Persico) to the town of Coeymans and its town board (supervisor Stephen Flach, Peter E. Masti, Thomas E. Dolan, Dawn Rogers, Thomas A. Boehm), and especially puts the Coeymans Police Department on particular notice to watch their steps because we’re watching and we’re ready to take action to clean up their acts if they can’t do it themselves. So listen up Bruno, Flach, Darlington. You’ve been served!
And village of Ravena mayor John Bruno and village board members Nancy Warner, William Bailey, Martin Case, Rocco Persico: Take the damned sign off the gazebo. It’s mere presence is proof of your ignorance!
Cases cited in this article:
- City of Chicago v. Morales, 687 N.E.2d 53, 58-59 (Ill. 1997), 119 S.Ct. 1849 (1999)
- Thornhill v. Albama, 310 U.S. 88 (1940)
- Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, 382 U.S. 87 (1965)
- Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972)
- Coates v. City of Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611 (1971)
- Nevada v. Richard, 836 P.2d 622 (Nev. 1992)
- Farrar, Jared. “Just Hangin’ Around: Gangs and Due Process Vagueness in City of Chicago v. Morales,” Mercer Law Review, v. 51:973-986.
- Leipold, Andrew D. “Targeted Loitering Laws,” Journal of Constitutional Law, February v. 3:1. 2001:474-502.
- Letter, Attorney General McMaster S.W. White, January 28, 2010, Opinion on Constitutionality of Union, So. Carolina Loitering Ordinance
- District Court of Prince William County (Va), Commonwealth of Virginia v. M.I. Hernandez et al., GC04009123-00, Motion to Dismiss (undated)
- N.Y Pen. Law § 240.35 Loitering
Stay tuned for:
Part Three: The Coeymans Police Department—Scoff-laws in Uniform. How Indifference and Bias Denies You Your Constitutional Rights. (This is a must-read for Coeymans police chief Gregory “DoDo-Cop” Darlington, Gerald “Dirty Hands Jerry” BoBo-Cop-Deluca, and Officers Jason “what investigation” Albert, Ryan “Psychocop” Johnson, Kerry “it’s hearsay” Thompson)
Part Four: Suing the Town of Coeymans Coeymans Police Department for Obstruction of Justice and Misuse of Public Office. How Coeymans police chief Gregory Darlington is going to lose his job and his crooked cops may find themselves doing jail time. So you want to make misdemeanors and felonies disappear, Mr Tom Dolan (Ask Tommy about his son’s escapades and where the charges went) and Dawn Rogers (Ask Dawn about her daughter’s friend the bottle and where the alleged DUI charges went). You might want to ask about how evidence is safeguarded in the Coeymans Police Department or their recipe for hitting parents through their kids. Or you might want to ask how to frame a resident or how to screw up a drug raid for a thimble full of marijuana while the real druggies are in the Ravena offices or the Coeymans PD evidence room (just speculating on this one). Of course, the Coeymans Police would rather hassle a bunch of kids congregating on a public gazebo than go after real criminals like Scott Lenden and his helpers (theft, possession of stolen goods, criminal tresspass). But then Dirty-Hands Jerry Deluca was investigator on that case and didn’t move his fat arse on it for six months until the victims called in the Albany County Sheriff’s team. Or how about arresting a kid for possessing his own prescription drugs and having him jailed for 45 days…on the information provided by a known, convicted druggie? An what about the recent botched up drug raids? Any comment, chief Darlington or admin assistant Kerry Thompson? And what happend to the investigations of Cathy Deluca and Claude Wheeles on falsely reporting an incident—one that never happened but Deluca and Wheeles collaborated and lied about it—maybe Officer Jason Albert, chief Gregory Darlington, or maybe Dirty-Hands Jerry Deluca can provide some answers. How does evidence leak out, Mr Deluca, Mr Darlington, Officer Albert?
Part Five: Going after the Ravena Coeymans Selkirk Central School District Board of Education, a Turncoat Superintendent of Schools, and the Teachers Union Lackeys Voted to the RCS Board of Education. How’d that all happen? We’ve got some information and facts that are going to knock your socks off and have some people soiling their undies. The real facts behind what cooking on the BoE and what a suicidal, ignorant school district has done to itself by handing over $40 million to crooks!
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