Consider a man dressed only in cellophane shorts

The Massachusetts Appeals Court had to do just that, as part of a thought exercise to help it conclude that a man who wore only sheer white compression shorts into a Target store in 2011 was, in fact, guilty of exposing himself.

John Coppinger appealed his conviction for open and gross lewdness and lasciviousness by arguing the state law on the matter was unconstitutionally vague and that, in any case, he wasn't exposing his genitals because they were covered by cloth.

But the court noted testimony from store workers that they could see "the fleshy color of his skin" through his sheer shorts, that he was clearly not wearing underwear and that his semi-erect penis and his testicles were pretty rampant.

The court said that laws do not have to explain every single last possible occurrence of an act if your basic reasonable man understands what the law means. And the state law on open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior meets that test, the court ruled. Assuming the prosecution case was correct, then:

[T]here is no question whatsoever that the defendant displayed his genitals and buttocks through his compression shorts. There is also no question that exposing one's genitals or buttocks, in conjunction with the other elements of the crime, violates the statute.

However, as the appeals court notes, the Supreme Judicial Court has held that to find somebody guilty of the crime, prosecutors must prove "the defendant exposed his or her . . . genitals, buttocks, or female breasts to one or more persons." So can one be guilty of exposure even when the naughty bits are covered by fabric?

The appeals court continues:

Accordingly, the crux of our inquiry is whether exposure requires a naked display or whether it is possible to expose a body part through a covering. We turn to "common understanding and practices" to assist our analysis. ... We consider the hypothetical scenario of a person wearing shorts made from cellophane instead of the material that the defendant wore. We think that such conduct certainly falls within a common understanding of exposure, as the person's genitals and buttocks would be completely visible, regardless of the covering. We see no meaningful difference between wearing cellophane shorts and the defendant's choice to wear shorts that were sufficiently revealing to a degree that the public could see the "flesh color of his skin," his buttocks, and his genitals. While we are sensitive to the fine line between an individual's freedom of expression and the criminal nature of the conduct prohibited by the statute, the defendant's conduct in this case went far beyond the reasonable bounds of permissible expression.

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      "After police arrived they

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      "After police arrived they found rope, binoculars, candy, sex toys and naked pictures of Coppinger, stashed in his car. Coppinger was charged with open and gross lewdness and accosting and annoying a person of the opposite sex. Coppinger's record of sex crimes dates back to October 1995, including 11 convictions for open and gross lewdness and a conviction for attempted assault and battery on a child under 14. ."

      http://www.bostoncriminaldefenselawyersblog.com/2011/04/sex-offender-cau...

      "Coppinger, of Mattapoisett, has had numerous encounters with law enforcement over the past decade, including last year when police say he tried to print nude pictures of himself at a Holbrook drugstore. He is currently on probation on charges out of Brockton Superior Court.
      Police reported that when they arrested him they found numerous articles in his car, including men and women’s underwear, binoculars, rope, sex toys and naked pictures of himself"

      http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=%22john+coppinger%22+target&d=463241993...

      Nut job

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      I see what you did there.

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      So not wearing baggy pants is

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      So not wearing baggy pants is now illegal in Massachusetts?

      If you're not allow to show even the shape of your naughty bits through clothing, what does this mean for anyone who wears bicycle shorts, or a woman who wears a tight shirt with no bra?

      1970s

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      "If you're not allow to show even the shape of your naughty bits through clothing,"

      You should have been around in the 70s. By today's baggy standards we all would have been arrested, men and women! Ah, the golden days.

      Oh, yes, I remember those

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      basketball shorts that the professional players wore. Let us just say that the basketball was not the only thing one could see bouncing on the court.

      Oh, not those

      There's an exhibitionist at my gym who wears those and spends at least 20 minutes "stretching" in front of the bank of cardio machines. I know more about that guy's junk than anyone but his dating partners should. I've never seen him use a machine and I'd say he's there about 2/3 of the time that I'm there.

      Flashed on the T

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      One day, a long time ago on the orange line, late at night,. There was this (nasty) guy was wearing a pair of those and NO underwear.

      He proceeded to open his legs repeatedly and exposed his meat and potatoes to me. I was surprised he did this since I am a big guy, but then again exhibitionists don't usually care. I just watched anyways in hopes it would scare him off because I didn't look away in fright. (yes I am a pig)

      As a gay man (and I may be alone on this one), I typically welcome guys showing off their johnson to me but this guy... yuuuuck. Even I have standards. I do have to say it was pretty dang big too.. far too big for those skimpy basketball shorts. But *shiver*

      (Yes I really am a pig!)

      I have a few other ones similar... mostly do to do with sagging pants, or guys who wear those sheer white track suit pants with no underwear! And most recently I got totally flashed at the Burlington Mall in the bathrooms near the food court. Sheesh.

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      Too bad the idea that "laws

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      Too bad the idea that "laws do not have to explain every single last possible occurrence of an act if your basic reasonable man understands what the law means" didn't apply when someone was taking photos up women's skirts on the T.

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      Leotard

      So if a woman in a light colored skimpy leotard came into the store do you think anyone would be calling the cops?

      Old sketchy guy in revealing cloths = illegal.
      Young and/or attractive woman in revealing cloths = awesome.

      I wouldn't want to see the sketchy old guy either but this ruling is transparent.

      COME ON

      a) "hot ladies can do whatever they want but not us menz" = straw man
      b) are you really trying to say a level 3 sex offender WASN'T exposing himself on purpose by wearing compression shorts in a g-damn Target?