Judge Rejects Attempt To Fine Family For Picking Up Discarded Air Conditioning Unit

from the how-is-this-even-allowed? dept

The privacy geeks out there are all very familiar with the famous Supreme Court case California vs. Greenwood, which established the point that, once you've put stuff out for garbage collection, you have relinquished it as your own personal property. But that case focused on the 4th Amendment issues of things like warrants. In theory, there could still be laws unrelated to the issue in the Greenwood case concerning who can and cannot take the garbage you've set out. And apparently, New York City has just such a law, making it illegal to take appliances or air conditioners. There may be many reasons for this (safety, for one), but it seems like a pretty ridiculous law to try to enforce, either way. However, apparently in NYC, they actually pay people to sit and watch appliances that people have thrown out.

That's what led to a woman and her son getting charged with a $4,000 fine for picking up a discarded air conditioner. The Consumerist lets us know that, thankfully, a judge has tossed this fine. There are so many ridiculous angles to this case, even if you believe the law is reasonable. First, two people were fined. The guy who picked up the air conditioning unit... and his aunt, who owned the car, but was not in it at the time. That seems pretty questionable as well. It's a bad application of liability. Just because the nephew put the AC unit in the car, why should the aunt be subject to the fine?

The bigger issue, though, is the fact that NYC, which is having financial problems, actually pays people to watch appliances that people are throwing out. The original Daily News article includes a great quote from the nephew:
"Our city is going bankrupt and we are using our tax dollars to pay these guys to stare at appliances all day," he said. "How do I get a job like that?"

Filed Under: garbage, laws, new york city, trash

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    ann, 15 Aug 2010 @ 11:23am

    You're stupid!

    Those refrigerants that are released during nonprofessional disassembly damage the ozone and are extremely hazardous to our health. Moron!

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.