People on Information of Miller v. Verch

CourtNew York Court of Special Sessions
Citation63 Misc.2d 477,311 N.Y.S.2d 637
Decision Date28 May 1970
PartiesThe PEOPLE on the information of Ptl. Richard MILLER Yonkers Police Dept., v. William VERCH, Defendant.

Page 637

311 N.Y.S.2d 637
63 Misc.2d 477
The PEOPLE on the information of Ptl. Richard MILLER Yonkers
Police Dept.,
v.
William VERCH, Defendant.
Court of Special Sessions, City of Yonkers.
May 28, 1970.

Page 638

Maurice Curran, Corp. Counsel (Jerome McGillicuddy, Yonkers, of counsel), for the People.

William Verch pro se.

GILBERT M. LANDY, City Judge.

The defendant is charged with knowingly, wilfully and unlawfully violating General Business Law, Section 139, in that on the 21st day of April, 1970, at about 6:00 P.M. at 5 Hudson Street, Yonkers, New York, 'he placed a figure, mark and design upon a flag, standard, color, shield and ensign of the United States of America, and then [63 Misc.2d 478] exposed the said flag, standard, color, shield and ensing to the public view and publicly cast contempt upon the flag of the United States by said act'.

The evidence presented on the trial of the case was that the defendant resided in Room 108 of the Windham Hotel at Riverdale Avenue and Hudson Street, in Yonkers, New York; that on April 21, 1970, a Yonkers Police Officer saw an American Flag projecting outside the window of Room 108, facing Riverdale Avenue, on the east side of the building. The flag was readily visible by passersby on the street. It was almost entirely covered by red-brownish paint. The police officer removed it from the window and at that time the paint was still fresh and the paint soiled the officer's hands. The flag was presented into evidence by the People.

In addition, there is evidence that early in the morning of April 21, 1970, a hotel employee also saw the flag, painted as described by the police officer, hanging from the window of Room 108. At about 6:30 P.M. on the same day, she met the defendant in the hotel lobby and asked him what had happened to the flag. He told her that he had painted it and that what he had done was none of her business.

It is not alleged in the information that the defendant defiled or defaced the American Flag, by use of words, as distinguished from his physical acts specified above. Accordingly, that part of the decision by the United States Supreme Court in Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576, 89 S.Ct. 1354, 22 L.Ed.2d 572 is not applicable to the case herein. In Street the defendant was charged with and was convicted in the New York Courts of the deliberate act of burning an American Flag in public as a 'protest', following the sniper's shooting of James Meredith, while the latter was...

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2 practice notes
  • Goguen v. Smith, No. 72-1204.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 14, 1972
    ...cover); Commonwealth v. Lorenc, 220 Pa. Super. 64, 281 A.2d 743 (1971) (flying Communist flag above United States flag); People v. Verch, 63 Misc.2d 477, 311 N.Y.S.2d 637 (1970) (painting brownish-red a United States flag). Such cases illustrate the fact that arguably surprising application......
  • People v. Vaughan, No. 25279
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • October 1, 1973
    ...846, 257 N.Ed.2d 30 (1970), aff'd by equally divided Supreme Court, 401 U.S. 531, 91 S.Ct. 1217, 28 L.Ed.2d 287 (1971). People v. Verch, 63 Misc.2d 477, 311 N.Y.S.2d 637 (1970). People v. Cowgill, 274 Cal.App.2d Supp. 923, 78 Cal.Rptr. 853, appeal dismissed, 396 U.S. 371, 90 S.Ct. 613, 24 L......
2 cases
  • Goguen v. Smith, No. 72-1204.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • December 14, 1972
    ...cover); Commonwealth v. Lorenc, 220 Pa. Super. 64, 281 A.2d 743 (1971) (flying Communist flag above United States flag); People v. Verch, 63 Misc.2d 477, 311 N.Y.S.2d 637 (1970) (painting brownish-red a United States flag). Such cases illustrate the fact that arguably surprising application......
  • People v. Vaughan, No. 25279
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • October 1, 1973
    ...846, 257 N.Ed.2d 30 (1970), aff'd by equally divided Supreme Court, 401 U.S. 531, 91 S.Ct. 1217, 28 L.Ed.2d 287 (1971). People v. Verch, 63 Misc.2d 477, 311 N.Y.S.2d 637 (1970). People v. Cowgill, 274 Cal.App.2d Supp. 923, 78 Cal.Rptr. 853, appeal dismissed, 396 U.S. 371, 90 S.Ct. 613, 24 L......

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