Saturday, May 28, 2016

Changing Laws for the Better


Our society has criminalized some of the most minor things. For instance, having an open container of alcohol in public in New York City was a misdemeanor, a criminal offense! 


Think about it--why would that be a criminal offense? With mandatory jail time and a permanent record? It was the same for littering and urinating in public. The Washington Free Beacon reports this morning that that is all changing. 

As quoted from an Associated Press article in The Washington Free Beacon:


The [New York] City Council on Wednesday passed a series of criminal justice reforms to sharply curtail the punishments for low-level offenses such as littering and peeing in public, an overhaul intended to help unclog the courts and jails of the nation’s largest city.
The Criminal Justice Reform Act alters the penalties for certain offenses, including possessing an open container of alcohol in public. Though the offenses will remain illegal, the legislation steers them to civil court rather than criminal court.
Public urination and most offenses in public parks will be downgraded from misdemeanors to violations and reduces the available jail penalties to just one day for violations. Currently, jail time could stretch up to 90 days for such offenses.

I am glad the courts will have more time to address those larger issues rather than being bogged down by these lesser (nuisance) offenses.

If you want to see some of the strangest criminal laws in existence in the United States, I recommend reviewing the article titled Here Are The Most Ridiculous Laws In Every State, compiled by Business Insider. I thought Ohio and Idaho were especially entertaining. And who says,  "Truth is funnier than fiction?" I can't make this stuff up. (BTW, it was Mark Twain)

Food for thought on the Memorial Day weekend.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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