State v. Rocker – (intent)
State v. Rocker, 52 Haw. 336, 475 P.2d 684 (Hawaii 1970 ) (1970)
BY: James F. Polk – AISOL YEAR ONE STUDENT
- Appellants arrested and charged with indecent exposure.
- Appellants had been sunbathing nude on a public beach in Maui.
- Somebody called the Cops.
- Cops spied out the Appellants with binoculars and then went and arrested.
- Appellants admit they knew and had seen 20-25 people in general visiting the beach.
- Appellants had sunbathed nude on several occasions in the past without any problems.
- Appellants argue that they did not meet the intent requirement for the crime.
- Offense was a common nuisance against common decency and morality and not nude sunbathing itself.
- Found guilty of common nuisance.
- Was the intent requirement met for common nuisance.
- Convicted of Common Nuisance.
- Made a denied motion to dismiss.
- Appealed to the State Supreme Court of Hawaii.
- Intent for indecent exposure has to do with the intent to be in a public place and exposed and not with any actual living breathing human seeing the person. It is not their right to be let alone that was violated but they who violated the standard of decency.
- Makes sense to me because though it was only the one person and the law enforcement officer who saw the two people nude, and neither of them expressed any statements of being offended in any personal way, it crossed the lines of their common decency standard because of the idea that a kid or somebody who IS personally offended by public nudity could have happened upon the two.
- Majority Opinion: Affirmed that there was sufficient proof of the intent requirement of Common Nuisance.
- 1. The motion to dismiss was not dealt with properly. It was not harmless error to not allow a review of the motion to dismiss along the same procedural lines as a civil trial. The criminal law is based on a presumption of innocence paradigm and not a sliding scale of liability and therefore the motion to dismiss needs to be dealt with differently (I do not think I have this element of the dissent properly summarized).
- 2. Basically the dissent argued that the Prosecution failed to properly connect the Appellant’s choice to use the Public Beach with the actual frequency of use of the beach by the Public.