I just spent literally 6 months defending a gentleman who was charged with “Disorderly Conduct” as a crime (Misdemeanor – capable of jail time) for allegedly flirting with a girl while he was in his car. According to the police, my client pulled up next to a pedestrian and simply told her she was pretty and made other complimentary remarks to her.
Well, the young women did not take kindly to the attention and called the police. The police ended up charging my client with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and treated him like a kidnapper. I was struck with disbelief when I made the first court appearance with this guy and both the judge and prosecutors told me they wanted my guy convicted of a crime and even do jail time.
We spent months fighting against the charge. We argued “wrong guy” , which it was (my client was not the offender, he was mis-identified) and first amendment rights of freedom of speech. The Judge continued to deny demands to dismiss. The prosecutor would also not back down. After literally 6 court appearance, the case was set for jury trial today (June 9, 2014). The “system” was still stacked against my guy. No mercy to show. They wanted my guy to plead guilty. Well, with 5 alibi witnesses on our side and some good legal research in our pocket, we told the Judge and prosecutor to “call up the jury”. Right before the jury arrived, the prosecutor dismissed the case.
Here are the take-aways. 1. We live in a different PC world now. Shouting at the opposite sex from your car can get you jailed and charged with a crime. Thus, don’t do it. Restrain from whistling and “cat-calling”. 2. If you are charged with a crime, hire an attorney who is not afraid to go to trial. I sincerely believe many attorneys would have simply persuaded my client to “plead” and move on. I couldn’t do that. With guts, law and persistence, we won the case. No compromise. The charge was dismissed!
For more information on this case, call Richard W. Hechter at 952-920-0840 (named superlawyer, 2014; board certified civil trial specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association).