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Appeals Court: Oregon Man with Hand in His Pants Exercised Free Speech

Posted by Steve Karimi | Jun 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently ruled earlier this month that a man with his hand in his pants who aggressively confronted a woman and her son in a park did not commit a crime.

In 2013, the 44-year-old man confronted a woman and her 7-year-old son at a public park by “shoving his hand inside his unzipped pants and arching his pelvis toward her while shouting,” according to The Seattle Times.

A lower court ruled the actions constituted second-degree disorderly conduct, but the appeals court reversed that decision. Because the man did not move toward the woman and child, the three-judge appeals court said he did not demonstrate he was about to attack. A public indecency charge was dismissed, too, because the woman turned away and did not see the man expose himself.

Per the Revised Code of Washington State (RCW 9A.84.030) a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he or she:

  • Uses abusive language and thereby intentionally creates a risk of assault.
  • Intentionally disrupts any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority.
  • Intentionally obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority.

It is also disorderly conduct if a person intentionally engages in fighting or in tumultuous conduct or makes unreasonable noise, within 500 feet of a funeral procession, a building in which a funeral or memorial service is being conducted, a location where a funeral or burial is being performed or a location where a viewing is taking place.

A person is guilty of indecent exposure, according to RCW 9A.88.010 if a person intentionally exposes him- or herself or another person, knowing that such conduct is likely to cause a reasonable affront or alarm. The law makes clear that breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure.

Both disorderly conduct and indecent exposure are misdemeanors and punishable with up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. However, if a person is found guilty of intentionally exposing him- or herself to a child under the age of 14, or if they have prior convictions, the charge can increase to a felony and the penalties are enhanced.

No matter the circumstances, a person who has been charged with a crime has a right to the best defense. If you have been arrested, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

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Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.