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(3-8) 13:32 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- It's a crime in California to urinate in a public place, a state appeals court ruled today.

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

McDonald was charged with narcotics possession. But if he hadn't been committing a crime in the first place -- urinating in the open -- the search would have been illegal and the found drugs couldn't be used against him.

To deal with the question, a Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco turned to a 19th century state law that defines a public nuisance 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.

The criteria spelled out in the nuisance law might not always apply to urinating in the great outdoors, the judges added. 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 court said, the same conduct "involves an interference with the public's right to a 'decent society' and to the use of the streets.''
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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i peed in Von's sink.

twicet.
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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KenB said:
Is THAT what happened. Poor thing.
naw, i stayed with her first, she stayed with me next, and i have a strong suspicion she peed in my sink AND shower.
 

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a jumped up pantry boy
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haiku d'etat said:
i peed in Von's sink.

twicet.
from how many feet away?
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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yarble said:
from how many feet away?
small bathroom. the sink porcelain was COLD i can tell you. COLD.
 

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More data than called for but --

Urine is sterile. During the civil war urine was used in battlefield hospitals to irrigate wounds. (Presumably to conserve drinking water.)

Urine also produces ammonium nitrate -- which in some form produces "salt peter," the crucial ingredient in black [gun] powder. During the American Revolution peeing on dung heaps was viewed as a patriotic duty because doing so provided raw materials for the armory and the national defense.

To put a bit of a fine point on it -- It's not so much unlawful to pee outside in CA as it is unlawful to uninate in a "public place." There's the practical side to this. Urine stinks, and the public seemingly has the right to expect that the public space is not soaked with it.

I watched a day care provider encourage a small boy to pee against the tree in a city park adjacent to an urban university campus. I pointed out to her that students like to sit in the grass in this park and most of them chose to sit in the grass and use the tree trunks as a back rest, often to eat lunch.

So, in essence her "charge" was peeing in the seating area of the local lunch room.

The "peeing in public" statutes provide police with the opportunity to search vagrants. Just like stopping someone for having a tail-light out provides police with the opportunity to check the driver for alcohol and anything suspicious in view inside the vehicle.

Gawd, I love living in the country. I pee on the roadside all the time, mostly witnessed by bovine or equine, but not by many people.
 

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A Canadian in Sweden
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haiku d'etat said:
small bathroom. the sink porcelain was COLD i can tell you. COLD.
I have to tell you J, this is way more information than I'm comfortable with... I think I'll have to migrate to PO now where they seem a little saner :rolleyes:
 

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Here's the opinion

Here's a link to the Court's opinion. www.courtinfo.gov/opinions/documents/A108690.DOC

Under the Court's opinion, peeing on an urban street or parking lot clearly is an illegal nuisance and peeing in a secluded wilderness area is not. Peeing by the side of the road in a non-urban area is in a gray area. Do any Californians want to volunteer to be the subject of a test case? Maybe Fixed or one of the other California lawyers here could represent you pro bono.
 

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Bacon!
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I've filled many a Taco Bell or McD's cup in parking lots and then thrown them into the trash can. How does that fit into the ruling? I've got to have some kind of enjoyment after drinking a lot of beer in a bar.
 

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In need of sock puppet
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I wonder if there's any leniency for a person with "increased frequency" due to a casaba sized prostate? Would it be too forward to suggest an inspection to a doubting thomas LEO?
 

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Shirtcocker
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I just got a ticket on Friday in Woodside, CA for peeing in the woods, close to the side of the ride - but a park ranger, so it is illegal anywhere they can "see" you - be warned!!!
 

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Misfit Toy
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dno said:
I just got a ticket on Friday in Woodside, CA for peeing in the woods, close to the side of the ride - but a park ranger, so it is illegal anywhere they can "see" you - be warned!!!
So, how much is a pee in the woods ticket?
 

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Calling all CA lawyers

dno said:
still waiting for the "bill" in the mail - I'll post the $$ when it arrives
Don't pay it.

This could be the test case about which I speculated when MC originally posted about the appellate opinion. C'mon Fixed and other CA lawyers, do some pro bono and take on this case. If someone is willing to be local counsel, I'll do the heavy lifting. Although I have to be careful about having too many pro hac vice admissions in California (I have one pending now and I know that the State Bar keeps track of them).

DISCLAIMER: Before the California authorities clamp me into irons tomorrow when I land in the Golden State and charge me with barratry, this post is tongue in cheek.
 

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The ticket is only an "infraction" and as such only effectively requires payment of the "bill" when it arrives - if it is an insignificant amount then I would prefer to make it go away and not make my record, versus being know as the "peeing cyclist".
 

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dno said:
versus being know as the "peeing cyclist".
I dunno, we could have jerseys made, someone could write a song.......
 

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Fifteen minutes of fame

dno said:
The ticket is only an "infraction" and as such only effectively requires payment of the "bill" when it arrives - if it is an insignificant amount then I would prefer to make it go away and not make my record, versus being know as the "peeing cyclist".

This could be your "fifteen minutes of fame." You might not have another chance. When some other peeing cyclist pursues the case that makes the side of the road "safe" for all of us cyclists and becomes a cycling folk hero, you'll regret that you weren't the Rosa Parks of cycling.

DISCLAIMER No. 2: Now I not only may be committing barratry, I probably am taking in vain the name of one of the true heros of the last century. I better stop and get to bed before I'm not only thrown in a California jail, but also run off of RBR.
 
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