People v. Babyak

Criminal Practice

New York Law Journal


Village Justice Tanya Hobson-Williams

Babyak was issued a violation for trespassing as he was standing at a fence of an apartment complex next to Planned Parenthood (PP) exercising his first amendment free speech rights. He contended he was not on PP's property and there were no "no trespassing" signs posted at the complex, nor was he advised by anyone he could not enter the complex property. Babyak testified he immediately left the property when told to do so by police. The court stated the Hempstead Village Code prohibited entering and remaining on private and public property without authority, yet same was not defined, limited or clarified anywhere in the code. As such, it stated a person entering and remaining on public property did so with license unless they defied a lawful order not to enter or remain communicated by a property owner or authorized person. Here, the court found neither the complex owner, or tenant ever informed Babyak he could not enter or remain on the complex property, thus, it was deemed a place open to the public. The court concluded prosecutors failed to prove Babyak entered the complex and remained without authority. It dismissed the complaint.

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