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Posted: 3/11/2006 9:56:24 AM EDT
California Court: Public Urination Illegal -- Drug Search Afterward Legal


Updated: March 10th, 2006 01:54 PM EDT


BOB EGELKO
The San Francisco Chronicle


It's a crime in California to urinate in a public place, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The case before the court came from Berkeley, where a police officer detained a man urinating in the parking lot of a closed restaurant on San Pablo Avenue near Ashby Avenue one Sunday morning in January 2003. The officer searched David McDonald and found drugs.

McDonald was charged with possessing cocaine base, convicted and placed on probation. But if he hadn't been committing a crime in the first place, the search would have been illegal and the drugs the officer found couldn't be used against him.

Defining the crime posed some difficulty for prosecutors who had to justify McDonald's detention to a judge. A state law makes it an infraction --

a minor offense similar to a traffic ticket -- to answer the call of nature on BART, a Muni bus or any other public transportation vehicle. But no law expressly prohibits urinating in any other public area.

The prosecutor and Judge David Krashna of Alameda County Superior Court concluded that the detention was legal because McDonald could have been found guilty of littering. The three-judge Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco upheld the detention but disagreed with the reasoning, saying the law defines litter as "waste matter ordinarily carried on or about the person.''

Instead, the court turned to a 19th century law that makes it a crime to commit a public nuisance, defined as an act that is "injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses.''

The act must also interfere with "the comfortable enjoyment of life or property'' by a community, or a neighborhood, or "any considerable number of persons.''

What McDonald was doing fit the bill, the court said, noting that "behavior that would be arguably less offensive to the senses'' has been classified as a nuisance.

For example, the judges said, a 1933 ruling upheld the conviction of a beer hall owner for maintaining a public nuisance because drunken crowds used offensive language that could be heard from the street.

However, the criteria spelled out in the nuisance law might not always apply to urinating in the great outdoors, the court said. For example, "a hiker responding to an irrepressible call of nature in an isolated area in the backwoods cannot reasonably be seen as interfering with any right common to the public.''

But in a more populated area, the same conduct "involves an interference with the public's right to a 'decent society' and to the use of the streets,'' Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline said in the 3-0 decision.

McDonald's lawyer, Alan Siraco, declined to comment, saying he hadn't read the ruling.

Strange. Although search incident to arrest is lawfull, its long been held it must only be incident to a Custodial arrest. Meaning you cant search somebody who you plan to issue a citation to, "incident to arrest", only those who you are intending to trasport to jail for booking.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 9:58:52 AM EDT
I guess with that reasoning it is OK to do it after the suspect breats as well.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 10:02:06 AM EDT
They will just keep slicing that hair ever thinner until they can just search pretty much at will. That, in fact, is pretty close to reality these days.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 10:03:12 AM EDT
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 10:04:46 AM EDT
Is pissing yourself considered public urination?
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 11:54:15 AM EDT
Whatever, just more judicial Fascist BS.
I though for a second this was about some guy who peed into a public toilet and then the cops scooped that piss up and found Drugs in it!!!!
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:06:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:17:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jetlag:
Is pissing yourself considered public urination?




Good question.


Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:19:43 PM EDT
I wonder if the appeals court makes the "more than 3 shakes is masturbation" rule too
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:20:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/11/2006 12:21:56 PM EDT by Barrelburner]
I thought public urination in California was classified as littering.

Nevermind, I guess I should read the whole thing first
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:27:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:32:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:32:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By tc6969:

Originally Posted By t-stox:
Whatever, just more judicial Fascist BS.
I though for a second this was about some guy who peed into a public toilet and then the cops scooped that piss up and found Drugs in it!!!!



Thats next.



they can already do that.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:35:14 PM EDT
If the officer reasonably believes the subject has a weapon and will use it, he can pat him down. If he feels something that could be a weapon he can remove it. If it could not be used as a weapon, say a baggy, he must leave it alone.

There are ways around the weapon thing, but the subject has to pretty much give it up himself, which happens all the time. That's on them. My guess, since it was cocaine, is that the guy was drunk and onry when the cops responded, mouthed off, made some threatening motions and was determined to be combative. They searched him and felt a pipe in his pocket. They asked him to remove it, he did and that's that. Without more details, it's pretty hard to say what happened.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:38:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/11/2006 12:41:21 PM EDT by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?

This reminds me of the debate over the guy who took a crap in a parking lot, in plain veiw (across from an open mini-mart, no less).... People on this site were actually defending his 'right' to pop a squat out in the open & drop #2....
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 12:49:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 1:19:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.



Do what you have to do. But don't be surprised when the man cuffs you for it.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 2:09:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.



Do what you have to do. But don't be surprised when the man cuffs you for it.



Yeah, I suppose that's how it has to be. Otherwise "I couldn't hold it" would be the excuse that makes it legal to piss wherever you want.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 2:15:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.



Do what you have to do. But don't be surprised when the man cuffs you for it.



Yeah, I suppose that's how it has to be. Otherwise "I couldn't hold it" would be the excuse that makes it legal to piss wherever you want.



I really thought someone here would have googled "Uromysitisis poisoning" before a discussion sprang up around it.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 2:20:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.



I can't immagine a situation where you're in a built up area, and there isn't at least a convenience store, fast food joint, or other business with a public restroom...

Like I said, we're not talking about out-in-the-boonies, pissing in a bush on the side of the interstate...

To put it in local perspective, think about the issues Milwaukee has with drunken Summerfest patrons pissing in the streets 'cause they're too smashed to use the porta-pisser...
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 2:22:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bastiat:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By bastiat:
Damnit, what about the people worried about Uromysitisis poisoning??? Are they just supposed to hold it in and die???



Are you actually implying that it's acceptable to piss in public, in a developed urban area (a/o 'Using the woodline' out in the middle of nowhere)?



What are you supposed to do if you can't hold it and there's no public pisser available? Piss in your pants? It can get to a point where it's physicall impossible to hold it.



Do what you have to do. But don't be surprised when the man cuffs you for it.



Yeah, I suppose that's how it has to be. Otherwise "I couldn't hold it" would be the excuse that makes it legal to piss wherever you want.



I really thought someone here would have googled "Uromysitisis poisoning" before a discussion sprang up around it.




Uh oh ... heading off to do so now ... I have no idea what it is ...

www.mikeschepker.com/seinfeld.html#U


Link Posted: 3/11/2006 2:39:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:


To put it in local perspective, think about the issues Milwaukee has with drunken Summerfest patrons pissing in the streets 'cause they're too smashed to use the porta-pisser...



Our local Irish bar has a huge St. Patty's day bash. They have 4 public restrooms in the bar, and always rent a dozen portapottys for the bash. Yet at anytime between 9pm and 3am there will be a bunch of people pissing in the street. The next day it smells like tijuana. The city has a municode for public urination which is a $70.00 fine. We usually assign two officers to stay there the entire night. they handle all the fights and medical aids. Plus write a couple dozen tickets for pissing in public. The bar gets a bill for the overtime cost of staffing the event.

In the instances I have cited someone for pissing in public i always include the location of all the nearby open public restrooms in the report.
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