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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27050
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My grandson was charged with disorderly conduct incident

Customer Question

my grandson was charged with disorderly conduct for an incident that occurred in a walmart store that included 4 other people but he was the only one charged. why
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


Disorderly conduct is a catch-all statute in the Penal Law. As you can see from yourself when you look over the statute, there are many different ways that a person can be disorderly. What is he alleged to have done? I wasn't there to see why he was arrested but generally if only one in a group was singled out, then in my experience he was either the one that security believed was the instigator of the incident, or he was the one who gave the police the hardest time when they tried to settle things down.

That's as specific as I can get without any more information other than the fact that he was the only one that got arrested. If you want to give me details about the incident and your grandson's role in it, I can provide more information accordingly. Include your grandson's age and whether or not he has a prior criminal history.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
they said because he was the first one in and the first to leave he was the "ring leader", they rolled tires, rode bikes and sprayed w2- oil on the floor so one of the kids could slide on a skate board this incident occurred at 1 am and 2 of the people involved were 18 and the other one was 15.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the reply. I am on the East Coast and had already turned off my computer for the night when your answer came through. I apologize for any delay.

So the answer I provided you was actually correct. Your grandson got arrested because the police felt he was the instigator and the ringleader. Also if he was the first to try to leave, the police see the attempt to flee the scene as consciousness of guilt, and they respond accordingly. This doesn't mean the police were correct in their assumptions. It doesn't mean that they were right not to arrest anyone else. But unfortunately, in order to make an arrest, all the police need is probable cause to believe a crime may have been committed and that your grandson may have had something to do with it. That's good enough to get him charged with this crime.

Whether he can get convicted -- which requires a great deal more proof, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in fact -- is a whole other matter. And if the police work was sloppy and selective that could cast doubt as to the accuracy of the officer's testimony, and reasonable doubt is all your grandson would need to show at trial in order to be acquitted of this charge.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My grandson has no criminal record, he is 17 two of the boys are 18 and one boy is 15. He was never arrested. Three days after the incident he was charged and ordered to appear in court. Walmart knew who he was because he had lost his billfold there a few weeks before the incident and it was recovered and he went to pick it up. My question is if two of the boys were adults how did my grandson force them to do what they did and why were they not all charged. I think he was charged because they knew who he was. Is this a type of discrimination?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

The fact that your grandson was a year younger than two of the boys in the group does not mean he couldn't have forced them to do what they did. Age has nothing to do with that. Your grandson could be bigger, stronger, more of a bully, brighter, or any one of a dozen other things that would make someone want to listen to him and do what he says.

Also, the police don't have to arrest everyone. It's not a defense to say, "The others were guilty too but nobody arrested them." It's like when everybody on the road is speeding, but you're the unlucky one who gets pulled over. You can still be charged for what you did, even if the others got away with it.

You may be right that he was arrested because Walmart recognized him. And if he goes to trial on this case, that's something that may be helpful. But it's not discrimination. In law, discrimination would be an unconstitutional arrest based on race, religion, gender, age, or disability.

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