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American arrested for standing in Times Square

A man was arrested after chatting with friends in busy Times Square. Certainly it can cause inconvenience for other people, but is it really illegal? 

Matthew Jones asked the state's highest court to disallow a claim. The Court of Appeals heard arguments in Albany and could rule next month.

He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest by flailing his arms on June 12, 2004. Police said other people "had to walk around" him, and he would not move when asked.

The Brooklyn man pleaded guilty to a violation after spending a night in jail, but he later appealed. Courts have upheld his arrest so far.

His lawyer, Nancy E. Little, said Wednesday there was no legal justification for arresting Jones for simply standing on the street.

"You need something more," she said. "You need to be being verbally abusive, or really blocking lots of people, or lying down on the sidewalk."

But assistant Manhattan district attorney Paula Rose-Stark said the disorderly conduct arrest was warranted, noting that Jones' behavior stood out "amid the inevitable hustle and bustle of Times Square."

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