September 5, 2018

Federal court: Prosecution of homeless without bed access for sleeping on public property is illegal

LA Times - Prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property when they have no access to shelter violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a district court decision in favor of the city of Boise, Idaho, in a case in which homeless people challenged two city ordinances that barred them from staying overnight on public property.

The ruling will protect the homeless not only in Boise but in California and other Western states from ordinances that punish them for being unable to obtain shelter.

The 9th Circuit ....cited evidence that some shelters limited the number of days a homeless person could stay or turned away people who arrived past certain hours.

Others required a religious commitment, the court said.

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