Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tall Fences Make Good Neighbors

OK, now this is one for the strange pages:Law Blind To Sight Of Nude Women
A Corona woman accused of exposing herself to a 14-year-old boy will not be tried for indecent exposure because the law against such behavior applies only to men, a visiting judge in Riverside County has ruled.
As much as this may be good news to men with attractive female neighbors, I think the judge is a little off his rocker here.
California Penal Code, Section 314, subdivision 1 (misdemeanor indecent exposure):

"Every person who willfully and lewdly exposes his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed ..."
The penal code clearly makes reference to 'every person', and last i heard, this is not gender specific language. In this sentence, 'every person' is the primary noun the rest of the law makes reference to, so such following references of 'his' or 'hers' take a secondary importance.

I'm thinking the judge will be reversed on appeal.

What is suprising is that this occured in Riverside County, one of the most conservative jurisdictions in the state, and not some fuzzy headed bastion like Berkely or Santa Monica. Having lived for several years in Riverside County, I can tell you the locals often refer to it as 'a cowboy court', where traditional notions are respected and plain talk gets it's say.

Even more alarming, in my mind's eye, is that a case such as this had to go through the process in the first place. Whatever happened to the notion that neighbors, in a proper and polite society, behave neighborly?
Why couldnt the defendant have talked to the boy's parents about the percieved disruption?
Maybe she did, and the parents copped an 'i'll do what i want in my yard' attitude. We dont know the particulars, and the details/events leading up to the criminal offense are not likely to come out.
But i'm finding it awefully damn hard to just accept that the boy was playing a quiet, nondisruptive first-time game of hoops causing the neighbor lady to maliciously shed her duds in frustration.
There's more to this.
Unfortunately, there is a clear need for 'more' when it comes being considerate of others, and a need for 'less' when it comes to involving the authorities when your neighbor pisses you off.

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