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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This case involves an ordinance designed to maintain the free flow of pedestrian traffic on the San Antonio River Walk. One way the ordinance accomplishes this is by making it unlawful for a business to allow patrons to queue on, or wait for entrance into, that business establishment on the public right-of-way of the River Walk area. Under the ordinance “queue” means “to form a line or arrange in a line.” This court granted review to answer the following question: Is an ordinance that penalizes a business establishment for allowing queuing unconstitutionally vague because it fails to specify methods that could be used to prevent queuing? The Court of Appeals observed that appellee was charged with a crime of omission � failing to prevent patrons from queuing. To determine whether the ordinance proscribed an omission with sufficient clarity to avoid a vagueness challenge, the court looked to Billingslea v. State, 780 S.W.2d 271 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989), which held that there must exist a statutory duty to act apart from a mere general statement that “an omission is an offense.” The court found that the ordinance ran afoul of Billingslea’s requirement because it did not “affirmatively impose on those subject to it the duty to adopt a particular system to prevent the queuing of patrons waiting for tables” nor did it “require those subject to the ordinance to adopt any system at all or otherwise inform them how they are to prevent queuing.” HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court agrees that the Billingslea analysis applies here. But the ordinance here is not like the statute in Billingslea, the court decides. The statute in Billingslea did not restrict its application to those who had a duty to care for an elderly individual. It imposed a duty, if at all, upon “every living person in the universe.” The court finds that the ordinance here is more like those statutes contrasted to the statute in Billingslea. The ordinance in question here imposes a duty to prevent queuing upon a specific class of entities, businesses with entrances along the River Walk area, and then proscribes violation of that duty. The fact that the ordinance did not suggest a method of preventing queuing is of no significance. Neither do the statutes proscribing permitting escape or interfering with child custody specify the method by which to avoid committing those offenses. There are common-sense methods for preventing queuing, and it is not necessary or desirable to require the city to codify those methods. OPINION:Keller, P.J., delivered the opinion of the court.

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