That’s a Pisser

I haven’t had much to say the last few days, so… a warning to those of you that pee in public.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that a state appeals court has ruled that its a crime in California to urinate in a public place. The specific situation inolved a case in Berkeley where a police officer detained a man urinating in the parking lot of a closed restaurant, searched him, and found drugs. The question was whether he was committing a crime by peeing in public; if he was, the search was legal. The Court of Appeals panel 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” and that interferes with “the comfortable enjoyment of life or property” by a community, or a neighborhood, or “any considerable number of persons.” In a more populated area, peeing in public “involves an interference with the public’s right to a ‘decent society’ and to the use of the streets.”

Note that the court upheld the illegality of the act only after denying the charge of littering, as litter is defined as “waste matter ordinarily carried on or about the person,” not within.

According to Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline, “Urination on or near a busy commercial street interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of both life and property.” He went on to add “The sight and smell of urine are vile and offensive, and those who use the public streets and sidewalks cannot be freely subjected to such unpleasantness”.

The state court, however, ruled that the nuisance law might not apply to certain cases. Examples were given of someone with their eight-year-old urinating, or in a rural area.

The moral of the story: Be careful where you pee. Remember: It is a privilege to pee, and Confucius says: “One who cooks carrots and peas in the same pot is unsanitary.”