People v. Feeney

Decision Date09 September 1960
Citation207 N.Y.S.2d 877,24 Misc.2d 74
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of New York v. Eugene Francis FEENEY.
CourtNew York County Court

Phillips, Heaney & Schofield, Beacon (Normington Schofield, of counsel), for appellant.

Julius S. Boccia, Asst. Dist. Atty., Beacon, for respondent.

JOHN R. SCHWARTZ, County Judge.

The defendant has been convicted in the Justice Court, Town of East Fishkill, of a violation of Article 14, section 245, subdivision 13 of the General Business Law. In a companion case (People v. Aram Calfayan), now before this Court on appeal, a conviction was had before the same Justice Court on similar facts.

The defendant contends the statute is not definite in specifying the conduct which is condemned or prohibited, and hence, incapable of enforcement. 'A criminal statute must give 'unequivocal warning' to citizens, of the rule which is to be obeyed, and, especially as to acts not mala per se, there must be a clear and positive expression of legislative intent to make them criminal' (People v. Vetri, 309 N.Y. 401, 131 N.E.2d 568; People v. Caswell-Massey Co., 6 N.Y.2d 497, 190 N.Y.S.2d 649, 652; People v. Grogan, 260 N.Y. 138, 183 N.E. 273, 86 A.L.R. 1266; Raley v. State of Ohio, 360 U.S. 423, 79 S.Ct. 1257, 3 L.Ed.2d 1344). 'A State may not issue commands to its citizens, under Criminal Sanctions, in language so vague and undefined as to afford no fair warning of what conduct might transgress them.' Raley v. State of Ohio, supra, 360 U.S. at page 438, 79 S.Ct. at page 1266.

'Parachute jumping for exhibition purposes is forbidden.' (General Business Law, section 245, subdivision 13) What is an exhibition? Must it be regularly scheduled, and advertised? Must it be witnessed by many, few or any persons? If it embraces anything done in public view, as the People would seem to contend, does it include a commercial pilot jumping from a stricken air liner? Does an exhibition require skill on the part of the exhibitor which is being displayed? If so, the rule would be most difficult of application; the pursuit of indicia of skill, as opposed to the lack of skill of the novice, an endless one. In the case at bar, the defendant contends he was making training jumps, and he wore the auxiliary parachute required by the statute. A training jump is not prohibited. Without pursuing further a fruitless exercise in semantics, it seems evident the wording of the statute does not warn the ordinary member of society as to what must be done and...

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4 cases
  • People v. Psaty & Fuhrman, Inc.
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • June 11, 1963
    ...as to acts mala per se--there must be a clear and positive expression of the legislative intent to make them criminal. (People v. Feeney, 24 Misc.2d 74, 207 N.Y.S.2d 877; People v. Vetri, 309 N.Y. 401, 131 N.E.2d 568; Patterson v. University of State of N.Y., 35 Misc.2d 608, 231 N.Y.S.2d 55......
  • People on Information of Stelzl v. Friedman
    • United States
    • New York Court of Special Sessions
    • June 15, 1971
    ...legislation must be clear, and not vague (People v. Caswell-Massey Co., 6 N.Y.2d 497, 190 N.Y.S.2d 649, 160 N.E.2d 895; People v. Feeney, 24 Misc.2d 74, 207 N.Y.S.2d 877.) It must give fair warning that the conduct the section prohibits is covered so that a person of ordinary intelligence w......
  • People on Complaint of McMahon v. Clampitt
    • United States
    • New York Court of Special Sessions
    • November 29, 1961
    ...guessing games where violations of criminal law are concerned. (People v. Vetri, 309 N.Y. 401, 131 N.E.2d 568 (1955); People v. Feeney, 24 Misc.2d 74, 207 N.Y.S.2d 877 (Dutchess Cty. Ct. Accordingly, motion is granted, information dismissed and defendant discharged. IMPELLITTERI and GRAY, J......
  • People v. Abelove
    • United States
    • New York City Court
    • August 3, 1967
    ...in guessing games where violations of criminal law are concerned. (People v. Vetri, 309 N.Y. 401, 131 N.E.2d 568; People v. Feeney, 24 Misc.2d 74, 207 N.Y.S.2d 877.) The provision of the ordinance in question is valid. The city had a right to select the holidays on which the parking meters ......

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