Judge Just Says ‘No’ To Unconstitutional Busts In The Projects


A federal judge says obscure loitering laws in public housing are unconstitutional. As written, the Nycha signs “do not clearly distinguish between harmful and innocuous activity,” ruled Judge Sheri A. ScheindIin. So, basically the police could arrest anyone—even residents—for simply being there. Well not anymore they can’t.

According to an article in the New York Times, Judge Scheindlin ruled that the cops can’t arrest trespassers “if the only facts known to the police are that the person says she does not live in the building and refuses to say more about her license or privilege to be there.” Good on you, Scheindlin.

The judge heard eight cases (of thousands) of unlawful arrests on Thursday. In one such case, the morning after Lashaun Smith crashed at a friend’s apartment at the Langston Hughes Houses in Brooklyn he was busted for trespassing because his friend’s little brother, who is blind, couldn’t ID Smith. Really, NYPD?

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