It doesn't matter that "Jersey Shore" castmember Snooki Polizzi looks like a tangerine-colored manatee. She is now a defendant in a quasi-criminal case before a New Jersey Municipal court, and the major news agencies are too busy making jokes about her being charged with being annoying to get the facts straight.
Seaside Heights Boro's ordinances regarding conduct on the beach and boardwalk are vague and overbroad; most of the language wouldn't pass Constitutional muster, were they to be challenged.
The relevant ordinance reads in pertinent part that it is a quasi-criminal Offense, punishable with a fine between $100 and $1250, and jail time not to exceed 30 days, to:
Make any loud noise, sound or music to the annoyance of any other person; or use loud or obscene language. Ord. 33:8(c)
Molest or disturb any person in the peaceful enjoyment of said beach, boardwalk or bathing facilities. Ord. 33:8(h)
The words "any person" or "any other person" are important here: In order to be convicted, there must be a complaining witness, and the Borough will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, A) Snooki displayed behavior that can reasonably be expected to "annoy" or "disturb" another beachgoer.
The police can not be the complaining witness in this case: Testimony by the arresting officers regarding her conduct on the beach would be hearsay, and therefore suppressed.
So, what are the news sources saying?
"(CNN) -- Reality TV star Snooki must prove in court next month that she was not annoying to people when she was on a beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, last month."
According to CNN, the defendant has the burden of proof in a criminal case. Since when? As stated above, the Borough has to prove their case, not the Snookster.
"(CNN) -- Police charged the 22-year-old with a municipal ordinance violation of annoying people on the beach during a court hearing Wednesday."
Wrong, dickbags. The prosecutor added the charges at Snooki's arraignment yesterday.
(Examiner.com) -- Jersey Shore star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi failed to appear at her hearing at the Seaside Heights Municipal Court."
FTA, or failure to appear, is a quasi-criminal charge, and can be the basis for a contempt of Court charge. To say she failed to appear implies that she may be in contempt, and that is irresponsible. If it were anyone other than this fat nutbag, The Examiner would've chosen its words more carefully.
"(Huffington Post -- Snooki, the pint-sized, loud-mouthed "Jersey Shore" cast member recently charged with being criminally annoying..."
It's not criminal, a--holes, and saying it is is irresponsible. It is quasi-criminal, the same as a traffic offense: It's illegal, and you can face fines and jail time, but it won't be a criminal conviction.
Truth be told, I wish Snooki would spontaneously combust. I hate her. However, my respect for "innocent unless (not until) proven guilty" takes precedent. She deserves no less.