News from Around the Americas | April 2006
|California Court: Peeing in Public Illegal|
San Francisco, California - Emptying one's bladder in a public place is a crime, even if there is no specific law prohibiting the practice, a state appeals court ruled.
Ruling on an appeal brought by a Berkeley man who was charged with cocaine possession after an officer stopped him mid-pitstop, the Court of the Appeal for the Second District said Wednesday that public urination is a crime that justified the officer's search of the man's pockets.
"Urination on or near a busy commercial street interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of both life and property," Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline wrote in an opinion that concluded public peeing qualified as "a public nuisance."
"The sight and smell of urine are vile and offensive, and those who use the public streets and sidewalks cannot be freely subjected to such unpleasantness," Kline continued.
The case involved David McDonald, who was detained after an Oakland police officer allegedly spotted him urinating in a Berkeley parking lot three years ago. The officer arrested McDonald and while searching him allegedly found cocaine in the suspect's pocket.
McDonald tried to have the cocaine evidence suppressed by arguing that because there was no law that specifically prohibited heeding nature's call, the officer did not have a reason to search him.
The motion was denied after prosecutors argued that public urination would violate both littering and public nuisance laws. McDonald was convicted and sentenced to drug treatment and probation.