If a tree falls on a naked guy in a forest, and no one's around . . .


I don’t get it. If nobody saw the guy, why was he being charged with a crime? Did he go into work the next day and say “Man, I was so naked in public last night!” or what?

So what you mean is, is it crap to be bare in the woods …:smiley:

I am sure that I broke all the Indecent Exposure laws
when as a lad in High School P.E., we all stripped naked (boys with boys, girls with girls) to take our showers.

Here is a link to the staff report: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2887/is-it-indecent-exposure-if-im-visibly-naked-while-on-my-own-private-property

There was a news article not long ago where a NY Subway cop stripped naked and walk around an empty subway platform at 4am. He was apparently joking around with his buddies. One of the security video cameras picked up the whole incident, and one of the charges brought against him was indecent exposure.

Since there are two threads on the same staff report, I’ll merge RThomas’s into the earlier one started by tim314.

moderator CSR

Showers and locker rooms aren’t considered public places. No policeman would arrest, and no judge would convict.

I think this discussion is missing the point that even if you get naked while nobody is there, a chance still exists that someone may come along. To that extent, I don’t think “nobody was around” is a viable defense.

  1. As **qazwart ** notes, modern cases involve surveillance cameras.

  2. The case I cited only reviewed an indictment. An indictment is supposed to inform the defendant about what he’s been charged with. It’s a formal requirement. The defendant claimed that the indictment was insufficient because it basically just quoted the statute. It said: “defendant did unlawfully, wilfully, and designedly make an open, indecent exposure of his person in a public place, to-wit, a public highway in Winneshiek county, in the State of Iowa in the presence of one Agnes Haugen, a female then and there being, the said defendant Richard Martin and Agnes Haugen not being married to each other, and each of them being unmarried.” The defendant raised some objections tto the indictment, mostly based on the common law requirements for indictments, but the state had passed some new laws. So the Iowa courts had held that “an indictment which charges an offense in the language of the statute is sufficient in all cases where the statutory definition states the material facts constituting the unlawful act.” The court said that the indictment met the test. But that’s all technical legal stuff.

At any rate, the court had the opportunity to review the case because somebody saw something. It could be that the police arrived to discover the couple buttoning up, but more likely, the state just saw the objection to the indictment as misguided and wanted to make a stand. I think it’s likely that Ms. Haugen saw the defendant’s private parts. :wink: Here’s the case:

And here is the *Bauguess *case, which is cited in Martin.


Have you seen the swimsuits they wore back then?

No, but it is pants…

Just how well hung would he have to be for it to have been decent exposure?