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Pick a crime, do the time

A naked man arrested in a Hampton-area hotel lobby has lost his appeal using a creative argument for overturning his disorderly conduct conviction.

Responding to a call, Hampton police found Romann Thomas in a hotel lobby standing naked, complaining loudly that “small furry animals” were biting him. Thomas appeared to be intoxicated, according to the officer. And he was blocking the hotel foyer, keeping people from coming and going, which can be bad for business.

Saying his conduct could have prompted multiple charges, he argued in Thomas v. City of Hampton that his conviction under a local Hampton ordinance should be overturned because he could have been convicted under the “other crimes” proviso of the ordinance.

At trial, the cop on the stand admitted she could have arrested Thomas for indecent exposure, public intoxication and obstructing others’ free passage, take your pick.

Focusing on the indecent exposure, the Court of Appeals said that charge was not codified in the local code. In an Sept. 23 unpublished opinion, the court affirmed Thomas’ conviction under the local ordinance.
By Deborah Elkins

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