Nothing ruins your night out quite like an open-container ticket, but if one Brooklyn judge gets his way, citations for drinking in public will become almost impossible to issue. The judge, Noach Dear, said in a criminal decision Thursday that a cop smelling your beverage for alcohol doesn't constitute enough evidence to write a ticket, nor are officers even justified citing you if you go ahead and tell them it's beer, The New York Times' Joseph Goldstein reports. They have to do a lab test to prove there's actually booze in your cup. Which is so impractical they'll never do it. Party!
Not really though. Dear's decision is basically symbolic unless you happen to get a ticket and then appear in front of him, and as Goldstein points out, one judge is unlikely to sway the entire NYPD. But Dear's trying to make a serious point that open container citations, of which police issued 124,498 last year. These sorts of citations aren't really about booze, but rather cops targeting minorities in order to run their IDs for warrants. After all, the tickets themselves only cost $25 if you pay by mail. Perhaps Dear and Brooklyn stoop-drinking campaigner Kimber VanRy should team up.
The whole thing reminds us of this awesome scene from The Wire, where Bunny Colvin explains the agreement between police and those who brown-bag on the corner, "the poor man's lounge":