In New York, you can be charged with a crime for some rather innocuous behavior, including rioting. Hire a good criminal defense attorney – that is no April Fools Joke. The Defendant here was accused of just that, rioting, “being involved in a fight where he and at least four other individuals struck each other with closed fists.” The Court’s job here was to evaluate the criminal charges to see if they were legally sufficient.
The charges filed indicate that there was a fight, a brawl… Perhaps even, a riot. In this “melee” a chair was thrown and people were thrown all about. As a result, the Defendant is charged with Riot in the Second Degree (PL §240.05) and Disorderly Conduct (PL §240.20).
Penal Law §240.05 provides that “[a] person is guilty of riot in the second degree when, simultaneously with four or more other person, he engages in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly causes or creates a grave risk of public alarm.” “The phrase ‘tumultuous and violent conduct’…means much more than mere loud noise or ordinary disturbance. ‘It is designed to connote frightening mob behavior involving ominous threats of injury, stone throwing or other such terrorizing acts.'” People v. Morales, 158 Misc.2d 443 (Crim Ct, NY County 1993), quoting Donnino, Practice Commentaries, McKinney’s Cons Laws of NY, Book 39, Penal Law §240.05, at 210.