My client, his girlfriend and his dog slept on the sidewalk with their belongings. At 6:40 a.m., the police woke them and asked them for their identification. My client refused, and the police then arrested him for resisting arrest and obstructing the sidewalk.
When the court appointed me to represent him, I was surprised that the District Attorney would prosecute him under under the “sit and lie” law. However, that law does not apply to people lying on the sidewalk between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Instead, the police arrested him under the theory that he substantially blocked the sidewalk, an infraction of the Municipal Code. By also arresting him with resisting arrest, it brought the matter into criminal court instead of traffic. Clearly, the police did not like him. I’m not sure why. My client always came to court sober and struck me as articulate and intelligent.
Every case is important regardless of how small or big when you are the client. I hired an investigator go to the scene to photograph the scene and measure the sidewalk. The sidewalk was 16 feet wide, and my client had only blocked a small portion of it. We answered ready for trial and were prepared to litigate. The District Attorney then dismissed the case rather than try it. I was looking forward to the trial.