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Captain Obvious

Drinking in Public now legal

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Public drinking ordinance unconstitutional

By PAUL PINKHAM

The Times-Union

Police cannot enforce Jacksonville's ordinance against drinking in public, a Duval County judge has ruled.

County Judge Charles Cofer said the ordinance violates the constitution because it is selectively enforced and gives too much authority to the mayor to make exemptions.

The decision is the result of a challenge to the arrest of two homeless men charged with drinking beer in the city's Treaty Oak Park.

The city immediately announced it will appeal, but Cofer refused to stay his order pending the appeal.

See complete details in Tuesday's Times-Union

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The responsible Jacksonville citizen in me is somewhat concerned about the potential negative impacts this ruling might have on public cleanliness and petty crime. However, the 22 year old in me couldn't be happier. Overall, I suppose it's better to have loose public drinking rules anyway. If German cities can do it sucessfully, I don't see why we can't.

In any event, this is all probably a moot point. Even if the city loses its appeal, city council will simply (and swiftly) craft a new law that will ban public drinking without stepping on the toes of the state constitution.

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This whole case is hilarious. I guess the two guys arrested aren't homeless anymore. I'm pretty sure FBC is furious with this decision. Now you can legally get toasted in Hemming Plaza. All jokes aside, I wonder how other cities have dealt with this issue?

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I remember reading about those Treaty Oak dudes. I can't believe it made it this far. I think I read that FBC was going to block off Laura and/or Hogan north of Curch Street during service times. I think the Hemming scene will be hoppin'!

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