People v. Byrne, 2021-21317

CourtNew York Justice Court
PartiesPeople of the State of New York, v. James K. Byrne, Defendant.
Decision Date22 November 2021
Docket Number2021-21317

People of the State of New York,

James K. Byrne, Defendant.

No. 2021-21317

Justice Court of The Village of Red Hook, Dutchess County

November 22, 2021


Procedural History

On July 7, 2021, defendant was issued an appearance ticket by the Red Hook Police for violation of Village Ordinance 130-4, alleging violation of the noise ordinance.

During the pendency of this proceeding, defendant was represented by Assistant Public Defender Seth Gallagher, Esq. The People were represented by Special Prosecutor Christopher Montalto, Esq.

On July 21, 2021, in open court, defendant challenged the constitutionality of the noise ordinance. Defendant notified the proper party, the Mayor of the Village of Red Hook, of the constitutional challenge, and she obtained the services of Mr. Montalto by designation of the District Attorney of Dutchess County. [1]

Defendant filed a written motion on August 11, 2021, asking that the charge herein be dismissed as the village ordinance involved is unconstitutionally vague.

The People filed their opposition on October 20, 2021. A letter was filed with the Court by Charles Rubin, Amicus Curie, pro se.

Defendant filed a reply on November 17, 2021. As neither side asked for oral argument, the Court marked the motion fully submitted on November 17, 2021

The Ordinance in Question

The Village of Red Hook's noise ordinance reads as follows:

§130-4. Radio and other mechanical devices.

It shall be unlawful for any person to operate in or upon any vehicle in any building or upon any premises or in any street or other public place any voice amplifying device, radio device or mechanical musical instrument or device of any kind whereby the sound therefrom is cast directly on the public streets and placed where such device is maintained and operated for advertising purposes or for the purpose of attracting the attention of the passing public, or which is so placed and operated that the sounds coming therefrom can be heard to the annoyance or inconvenience of travelers upon any street or public place or of persons in neighboring premises. (Emphasis added)

There is no bright line standard in this ordinance, such as a decibel level which defendant should not exceed, which would put defendant on notice as to when he would cross the line into illegality. Instead, it is left to the subjective standard of what annoys or inconveniences a neighbor.


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