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Standing with intent to loiter

Posted by Pamela on March 24, 2007

In Reply to: Re: Trolling with intent to fool posted by ESC on March 24, 2007

: : : : : : It seems to be an imaginative petty criminal charge with some basis in historic reality. Maybe. I think. Ever heard of it?

: : : : : This was/is often used by the authorities (Mussolini Republican guys in black suits with no id ) against anti-war demonstrators here in the US of A.

: : : : : It's a perfect way to pick up and bring in a troublemaker who isn't actually committing any crimes, harass him, and let him go.

: : : : : During the Republican Convention in 04 they even charged me with contributing to the delinquency of a minor--my daughters were with me.
: : : : : More at the link below.

: : : : I'm still not convinced that the "vague and obscure legal term used in some jurisdictions" actually exists. Call me suspicious, but there seems to be a strong flavour of urban legend hanging about it. Is there anyone here who can testify from their own knowledge that the legal offence of "mopery" really exists or used to exist, and specify *where*, i.e. in which legislature? (VSD)

: : : I believe I have a reasonable command of legal terms, both past and present (even if somebody disagrees with my views on 'house-breaking') and I have never encountered the term in question. furthemore, both words 'mopery' and 'gawk' are far from the latinate basis of many statutory terms and whilst offences coming out of the common-law have non-latinate origins (e.g. murder & theft) I very seriously doubt that 'moping' and 'gawking' would have made their way into common-law.

: : : I suggest that the term was a comic invention, perhaps being comparable with "The Ways and Means Act" (a fictional statute quoted by the police to justify their actions).

: : : Perhaps a degree from the University of Life having graduated from the School of Hard Knocks might have included familiarity with such terms.

: : : L

: : You will not find mopery anywhere officially as it is a descriptive term, a catch-all way for a government to deprive you of your constitutional guarantees:

: : "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

: : They will charge you with loitering, intent to do this or intent to do that or conspiracy to do this, that or the other thing.

: : I was once holding up a sign saying "End the War Now" on the corner of 48th and Park during a Nixon stay at the Waldorf when a policeman on horseback hit me on the head and arrested me for loitering and conspiracy charges--mopery with intent to gawk.

: At least you weren't holding up a sign that said "Bong hits for Jesus." http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/12/01/scotus.bonghits/index.html

Street marching (or even walking on the footpath with more than three people side by side) was outlawed in Queensland, Australia for three years in the 1970s. During this ban there were,of course, more street marches than at any other time and 3,000 people were arrested (a big number considering the size of our population back then). Many people still claim that they were arrested for "standing with intent to loiter" After the death of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen (who brought in the laws during his 200 year stint as Premier), the Queensland Council of Civil liberties retold what has now become a famous incident about a Dentist who was denied permission by the polive to "walk with his dog down a dead-end street outside Bundaberg [a small town]at 2.30 in the morning ... [carrying] a sign saying, "The Majority are not Omnipotent". http://www.qccl.org.au/documents/Newslett er_QCCL_April06.pdf Pamela