February 18, 2009

Disorderly dissidence

Chris Liebenthal of the blog Cognitive Dissidence cogitates on yesterday's decision in West Allis, where a judge found a man not guilty of disorderly conduct after police were called when the man was spotted on his own property strapped with a firearm.

He was planting trees, and perhaps the acorns of further litigation.

Chris assembles a pretty decent argument for why the man's actions may have constituted disorderly conduct.

Just to clarify, I don't think the disorderly conduct statute is a bad law per se;* certainly it includes for much behavior that the community may deem anti-social and deserving of some penalty.

But at the same time it does present the real potential of getting applied in certain circumstances that lead to a bad — as in, unjust — result. And that does happen, which is why I agreed with Pierce.

In this West Allis case, I think the judge made the correct call, but Mr. Liebenthal makes a number of valid points for the prosecution.

* I think this case, interpreting the disorderly conduct statute and summarized in the WI Revisor of Statutes' annotations, is bad law:

"The defendant was properly convicted of disorderly conduct when he appeared on a stage wearing a minimum of clothing intending to and succeeding in causing a loud reaction in the audience." State v. Maker, 48 Wis. 2d 612, 180 N.W.2d 707 (1970).

Mind you, J. Edgar Hoover was in charge back then (although I don't believe he was the defendant in State v. Maker).

3 comments:

capper said...

I personally believe that the guy was out of line and should have been found guilty of D.C. That said, I also don't think it rises to the level of any type of consequence than perhaps a verbal reprimand and maybe a nominal fine to pay court costs, which I believe in W.A. is about $30.

But, as I often point out, you are the barrister. I'm just a schlub, a royal schlub, but still a schlub.

illusory tenant said...

Hey, you almost persuaded me.

John Foust said...

Does "open carry" include "with your finger on the trigger"?