Vagrancy / vagrant

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"The crime of common-law vagrancy, which is what [this New York] statute involves, contains three elements: (1) being without visible means of support, (2) being without employment, and (3) being able to work but refusing to do so."

"Such statutes have their origins in feudal laws aimed against runaway serfs and the English ‘poor laws' and were originally designed as a means of regulating the economic life of the populace.  The modern emphasis or stated justification for retaining such laws has shifted, however, to the prevention or control of crime . . . ."

"We are in agreement with plaintiff that [this statute] is unconstitutional, on the ground that it violates due process and constitutes an overreaching of the proper limitations of the police power in that it unreasonably makes criminal and provides punishment for conduct . . . of an individual which in no way impinges on the rights or interests of others and which has in no way been demonstrated to have anything more than the most tenuous connection with prevention of crime . . . other than, perhaps, as a means of harassing, punishing or apprehending suspected criminals in an unconstitutional fashion."