The scales are looking shiny today
First let me apologize for the title -- sure, it's no "The Butler Did It... Again," but it will do.
Syracuse football recruit Ashton Broyld, currently a senior at Rush Henrietta High School, has been charged with the B Misdemeanor of Public Lewdness for alleged behavior at a high school basketball game. Reports at the time of the incident, March 9 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, were that Broyld made an inappropriate gesture toward Irondequoit High School fans following the game.
That brings us to today. As reported in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Broyld appeared today in Rochester City Court to be arraigned on the Public Lewdness charge with his attorney from the Monroe County Public Defender's Office. As I did here previously with the Delone Carter matter, let me break down the specifics of the legalities of the ramifications of his actions of this run-on sentence.
Public Lewdness appears in the New York Penal Law at section 245.00: "A person is guilty of Public Lewdness when he intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act (a) in a public place; or (b) in private premises under circumstances in which he may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he may be so observed."
First, there's an intent element here. Thus, a female having her shirt ripped off her would not count. Nor would someone being "pantsed." There needs to be intent by the person to expose the "private or intimate parts." Hopefully you all can figure out what that means. No? Safe bet on penis, vagina, and breasts. Ears, feet, and belly buttons don't count, you sickos!
More importantly, there needs to be an accompanying "lewd act." Simply flashing someone, in and of itself, does not qualify under this section of the penal law (though there is a separate crime for "exposure of a person"). You can imagine the amount of litigation over what qualifies as a "lewd act" -- and it seems as though New York courts have taken a similar approach that the US Supreme Court has taken with obscene pornography: "you know it when you see it." Most cases I've read about seem to involve public masturbation, which has been held to be a lewd act.
Unfortunately, I have not read any news reports that specified Broyld's alleged lewd conduct. Internet rumors have reported that he exposed himself to fans in the arena. Since that in and of itself would not be enough for this charge, he probably made some sort of jerking gesture, or pointed to it and said "Suck it" or something of the sort. It was after his team lost, he was probably getting an earful from the opposing school's fans, you can use your imagination on what probably happened.
Public Lewdness is a Class B Misdemeanor. This is a step down from most misdemeanors and, therefore, does not carry penalties quite as severe. Also to be considered is that due to his age, Broyld would be treated as a Youthful Offender, meaning that should he be convicted of the misdemeanor charge, his conviction would be replaced with a Youthful Offender adjudication and his record sealed, which means he could truthfully answer on college/job applications that he has never been convicted of a crime. In terms of sentencing, as a Youthful Offender he would be facing up to three months in jail; or three months of weekends in jail; or 1-3 years on probation; or a split sentence of jail and probation; or a conditional discharge. Any of these sentences could also include a fine of up to $500, plus a mandatory state surcharge so the State of New York can try to make up for the budget shortfall.
The Democrat and Chronicle story I read listed Broyld's age as 19, which means that, depending on when he turned 19, he may not qualify for Youthful Offender. In that case, if convicted, his record would not be sealed, he would have a criminal record, and his sentence could be any of the possibilities listed above.
What is likely here? Well first, let me start by saying that he has a very good lawyer. I'm not familiar with the specific attorney he appeared in Court with today, but the Monroe County Public Defender's Office has a very good reputation throughout the state and, I believe, throughout the country. They have taken some very famous and important cases all the way to the US Supreme Court. So, his attorney will certainly be no push-over. Short of an outright dismissal or a not guilty verdict at trial, it's my best guess that this case will be pleaded down to a Disorderly Conduct, with Broyld being sentenced to a fine and conditional discharge. A case like this doesn't have "victims" per se, but rather is a crime against public sensibilities. It's society saying that this behavior is not acceptable, and that those offenders should be held to account. These "victimless crimes" are much easier to plead down. And a plea to Disorderly Conduct will not only save Broyld in terms of punishment, but it will also avoid him getting a criminal record, as DisCon is merely a violation level offense, and that record is supposed to be sealed.
Obviously, time will tell here on what ultimately happens. This certainly doesn't rise to the level of Assault 3rd, or Burglary 2nd, like we have seen more recently involved with football players. His scholarship to Syracuse seems to be intact as of now. But regardless of what happens with his criminal case, you can be sure Doug Marrone is gonna be on this kid and really keep him on a short leash. For his own good, and the good of the fan base.
By the way, suck it, Irondequoit!