Loitering and disorderly conduct statutes have long been criticized as being catch-alls whereby the sensibilities of certain citizens may be protected from certain activities which they consider offensive. And vagrancy statutes have been attacked for making no activity a crime. However, the roots of these laws run deep and their history may be traced back to feudal times when they were utilized by the lords to "protect" themselves from undesirables. Vagrancy statutes then developed as the criminal side of the poor laws. Apparently the philosophy behind such modern day statutes is that a vagrant is a probable criminal; that there is some correlation between vagrancy and criminal conduct. Fortunately, in recent years such statutes have, with increasing frequency, been coming under the watchful eye of the courts. Such statutes have occasionally been struck down for their vagueness. Efforts should be made to reexamine these catch-all statutes to determine whether they protect a valid interest of our society or merely restrict our freedoms.
H. Bruce Hamilton,
Constitutional Law—Vagrancy, Loitering, and Related Offenses Held Unconstitutional because of Vagueness and Overbreadth: Baker v. Binder, 274 F.Supp. 658 (W.D. Ky. 1967),
48 Neb. L. Rev. 284
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