In a victory for public nudity, sort of, a homeless man trying to take an innocent piss in Franklin Square Park last August was acquitted of indecent exposure charges this week after prosecutors failed to find more than one witness who saw said indecency.
Miguel Hernandez, 38, was walking around the Mission after eating lunch on August 11 when he stopped at the park, where a soccer game was going on, and decided to relieve himself off to one side. A Daly City woman with a four-year-old by her side noticed him, but she claims that he had an erection and turned toward her and made a lewd gesture.
Unaware that anyone had seen him, Hernandez decided to take a seat and watch the soccer game, only to find himself soon arrested when police arrived. He was charged with indecent exposure, which in San Francisco requires "the intention to draw attention to oneself for sexual gratification." A conviction carries with it a lifelong stigma of being a sex offender.
As the public defender's office explains in a release today:
Hernandez told police during an interview that he decided to relieve his bladder because he believed other park visitors were too immersed in the soccer game to notice. He expressed embarrassment upon learning he had been seen ...
An indecent exposure conviction requires the intention to draw attention to oneself for sexual gratification.
“Mr. Hernandez may have made an unwise decision about where to urinate, but that innocent mistake should not brand him for life as a sex offender who preys upon women and children when it simply isn’t true,” [says public defender JP Visaya].
So, remember fellas: So long as you're only whipping out your dong to relieve yourself, you may only be subject to a fine. But just don't get too excited.