Monday, April 2, 2012

UK Madness: Riots On the Streets of Lexington, KY!!!

Tipoff for the NCAA men’s basketball championship is tonight at 9:23pm.  The University of Kentucky will be representing this fine Commonwealth in said championship, and is favored to win by 84 points.*  Regardless of whether you are a UK fan, or a fan of UofL, Murray State, Morehead, EKU or WKU, I hope we can all follow the advice of the Honorable Rick Pitino, who addressed the basketball fans in this state, and was quoted after the Final Four game as saying, “For those that have brains, they root for each other.

I am a Cards fan.  But I will certainly be cheering on the Cats to victory tonight – Bring that big trophy back to the Commonwealth, boys!  Having any Kentucky institution in the National Championship is good for all of us.  Go Cats!

On that note – I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but there have been some rowdy fans in Lexington lately.

As reported by a semi-reputable internet site: “Post-game revelry in Lexington turned to destruction and fire-setting Saturday night as University of Kentucky fans swarmed the streets surrounding campus, prompting police in riot gear to move in.
College antics in alcohol-fueled celebrations of UK’s Final Four victory quickly escalated, as young people set couches and two cars ablaze and hurled beer cans into clusters of party-goers.

Firefighters responded to about 50 nuisance fires, mostly couches set afire on purpose, according to Battalion Chief Ed Davis of the Lexington Fire Department. Ten people were injured, he said.

Two car fires were set on State Street.”
Concerning the wide open, stuff-to-the-wall partying, Joey Frederick, who joined the revelry in Lexington, was quoted, saying, “We are the best team in America,” he said. “I think houses should burn.”

Although I don’t quite follow Mr. Frederick’s “logic,” this blog post is for people like Joey.

Let’s talk about Riot.  Pursuant to KRS 525.010, “Riot” is defined as “a public disturbance involving an assemblage of five (5) or more persons which by tumultuous [loud, excited or emotional] and violent conduct creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons or substantially obstructs law enforcement or other government function.”  [definition added for Joey].

I know that some people like to party.  And those people are infrequently deterred from partying by the legal consequences thereof.  But if you intend on engaging in the above behavior, you should be advised that participating in a riot can be against your penal interest [can get you in trouble with “the law”].  KRS 525.020 governs Riot in the first degree, and provides as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of riot in the first degree when:
(a) He knowingly participates in a riot; and
(b) In the course of and as a result of such riot a person other than one (1) of the participants suffers physical injury or substantial property damage occurs.
(2) Riot in the first degree is a Class D felony.

Without droning on the subject, just trust me, turning over cars and lighting couches on fire constitute “substantial property damage.” 

The interesting thing about Riot is that you can be criminally responsible for someone else’s conduct.  If you run out on to State Street, with the knowledge that people are rioting, and you run around celebrating with everyone else, you do NOT have to be the person who causes the damage in order to be punished under this subsection of the KRS.  And, in fact, you could be facing a felony [crime that involves a punishment of over a year in prison].  Specifically, if you are found guilty of Riot in the first degree, you would be facing up to five (5) years in prison [definition added for Joey].

If no substantial property damage were to occur, the participant can still be criminally liable under KRS 525.030, for Riot in the second degree.  It is defined as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of riot in the second degree when he knowingly participates in a riot.
(2) Riot in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

If you do not wish to participate in the riot, but would rather encourage others to do so, you should be aware that KRS 525.040 may prohibit that conduct as well:

525.040   Inciting to riot.
(1) A person is guilty of inciting to riot when he incites or urges five (5) or more persons to create or engage in a riot.
(2) Inciting to riot is a Class A misdemeanor.

Although I do not condemn Public Intoxication in the moral sense, I would like to inform you that it can be illegal.  KRS 222.202 defines Alcohol intoxication in a public place, and states:  “222.202   Offenses of alcohol intoxication or drinking alcoholic beverages in a public place.
(1) A person is guilty of alcohol intoxication when he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or unreasonably annoy persons in his vicinity.

And although the aforementioned statute sets a high bar for public intoxication (“manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that he may endanger himself…”) I would just like to caution you that a lot of police officers seem to ignore that high bar, and will arrest you even if you seem a little drunk.

Also related to this conversation is Disorderly Conduct, or as some criminal defense lawyers call it, “DC2.”

525.060   Disorderly conduct in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he:
(a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
(b) Makes unreasonable noise;
(c) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or
(d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.
(2) Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor.

Any partying aftermath of the National Championship game would not constitute Disorderly Conduct in the First degree, unless there was a funeral going on simultaneously.  But that is a conversation for another time.

I hope this was informative.

If you get arrested for Riot, Disorderly Conduct, or Public Intoxication in the wake of a National Championship celebration, call a Louisville criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you.  Call 502.618.4949 and speak to an attorney at Simms & Reed, PLLC today. 

Simms & Reed, PLLC.  Results.  As fast as the law will allow.

*This blog may contain fabricated statistics, “facts,” and/or odds.

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