March 8, 2007 / 1:11 PM / in 11 years

Yes, spitting in the face is crime, court rules

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A man who intentionally spat at another can be charged with criminal assault, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Lewellyn was sentenced to two years probation and 50 hours of community service after he spat in 2004 at a patient who swore at him on the grounds of a Veterans Administration Medical Center in Walla Walla, Washington.

He appealed the conviction, arguing that spitting did not constitute an assault, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

“Intentionally spitting on another person is an offensive touching that rises to the level of simple assault,” the three-judge panel wrote.

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