Though having been found unenforceable by the state Supreme Court in 1982, the law was most recently used in 2007 against a homeless man who was “loitering” in Newark Penn Station. That case is now pending judgement in U.S. District Court: Newark repeals anti-loitering law.
The city council repealed the ordinance in a 9-0 vote on May 20, some 27 years after a state Supreme Court ruling made it unenforceable and various law enforcement agencies mistakenly used it.
The old ordinance, which had defined loitering as “spending time idly, loafing, or walking about aimlessly” was considered unenforceable, Neals said, because a Supreme Court decision, State vs. Crawley, in 1982 said the state’s criminal code supplanted it.
Neals also said the repeal of the law is not in reaction to a lawsuit against the city and NJ Transit police that was filed by Richard Kreimer. According to his suit, a transit police officer told Kreimer, who is homeless, to stop loitering in Newark Penn Station in October 2007. Kreimer was not issued a summons, according to the lawsuit.
Transit police officers used the city’s anti-loitering law to get him to leave, said George and Lydia Cotz, a Mahwah husband-and-wife law firm representing Kreimer in U.S. District Court in Newark. The case is before Judge Susan D. Wigenton.
Kreimer gained notoriety in 1991 after winning a $230,000 settlement from Morristown after he was barred from the library. Library officials asked Kreimer to leave the Joint Free Public Library because of his hygiene and his behavior. The library eventually settled the case.
Since then, Kreimer has run for the mayor of Morristown, sued the city of Woodbury in southern New Jersey and moved briefly to Colorado.