The above-named defendants have been charged with a violation of article 16 (§ 16-12, subd. [b]) of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Ithaca, New York which reads as follows:
"Sec. 16-12. Keeping the peace * * * (b) Use of instruments, sound devices. No person shall play, operate or use, or cause to be played, operated or used, any mechanical instrument, radio or wireless, speaker or horn, or any other instrument, device or thing in the city so as to disturb the peace and quiet of any neighborhood. (Ord. of 6-7-22, Ch. 2, 2; Ord. of 2-16-29)"
A hearing on the alleged violation was held before me in City Court, City of Ithaca, New York on January 28, 1969.
Since there are no published decisions rendered under the section in question, the court must review decisions rendered under comparable statutes. The court notes that the two sections cited as references under article 16 (§ 16-12, subd. [b]) of the Code or Ordiances of the City of Ithaca, New York are section 3-8 of the Ithaca City Charter and section 722 of the former Penal Law, now section 240.20 of the Penal Law. Section 3-8 of the Ithaca City Charter, entitled "Powers Enumerated" reads in part as follows:
"In addition to the powers conferred by the last section [§ 3-7] the common council has power, and in the exercise thereof may make, establish, publish and modify, amend and repeal ordinances, rules, regulations and by-laws: * * * (5) To restrain and punish vagrants, mendicants, street beggars and persons soliciting alms, common prostitutes, lewd and disorderly persons, and to prevent and punish drunkenness and disorderly and immoral conduct in public places or streets."
Also here again there are no published decisions under this particular section of the Ithaca City Charter.
Section 240.20 of the Penal Law reads in part as follows:
"Disorderly conduct. -- A person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof: * * * 2. He makes unreasonable noises; or * * * Disorderly conduct is a violation."
Section 722 of the former Penal Law read in part as follows:
"Disorderly conduct. Any person who with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or whereby a breach of the peace may be occasioned, commits any of the following acts shall be deemed to have committed the offense of disorderly conduct: * * * 2. Acts in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct, or be offensive to others; * * * 5. Shouts or makes a noise either outside or inside a building during the night time to the annoyance or disturbance of any considerable number of persons".
After reviewing the afore-mentioned statutes the court concludes that the ordinance in question is basically a disorderly conduct ordinance and was derived from the section of the former Penal Law. The court has reviewed the many cases cited under the older statute.
Who are the defendants and what is the nature of the charge?
The Ithaca Savings Bank, now the Savings Bank of Tompkins County, is a banking corporation incorporated in 1868 under the Banking Law of the State of New York, with principal office located at the corner of North Tioga Street and East Seneca Street in the City of Ithaca. The defendant, W. Robert Farnsworth, is the president of the bank. The bank is governed by a board of trustees who are selected on the basis of the contributions they can make not only to the bank but to the welfare and growth of the county. The instrument in question is known as an electric carillon. It was first obtained on a six months' trial basis from the Norden Company in December 1964. At that time the company had approximately 812 installed in banks throughout the United States. The decision to purchase the chimes on a trial basis was made by the board of trustees. The president of the bank testified that at that time he communicated with the Mayor of the City of Ithaca who gave him permission to install the chimes. After a four-week trial basis the board of trustees decided to purchase the carillon. This decision was preceded by a public poll, the response to which indicated overwhelming public support ...