Matthew Jones, the Brooklyn man who was arrested for refusing to move out of the way other pedestrians on a Times Square sidewalk in 2004, had his guilty plea overturned by the New York Court of Appeals Tuesday. At approximately 2 a.m. on a June evening of 2004, Jones was standing on the corner of 42nd St. and 7th Ave., talking with a group of his friends. A police officer noticed that a number of pedestrians were being blocked by the group and asked Jones to move along and clear the sidewalk. After refusing to move, he eventually ran from the cop and was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty to the charges, but later changed his mind and challenged them in court.

The court was unanimous in its decision to overturn the conviction, and Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote an opinion stating the prosecution had not met the burden of proof that Jones was intentionally causing a disturbance or risk to others.

“Something more than a mere inconvenience of pedestrians is required to support the charge.

“Otherwise, any person who happens to stop on a sidewalk — whether to greet another, to seek directions or simply to regain one’s bearings — would be subject to prosecution under this statute.”

In other words, being an inconsiderate jerk is not against the law in NYC.

(Untitled photo of rude Big Apple, by neps at flickr)