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Judge: Anti-panhandling ordinances violate free speech right
CONCORD, N.H. — A federal judge in New Hampshire has ruled that anti-panhandling ordinances enacted by some communities are a direct violation of the First Amendment. The Portsmouth Herald reports (http://bit.ly/2eM4fNs) the decision comes as part of a lawsuit filed against the city of Manchester by Theresa Petrello, an Army and Navy veteran who has panhandled to make ends meet. The ruling orders Manchester, Concord, Rochester and Somersworth to cease the enforcement of unconstitutional ordinances that ban individuals from receiving charitable contributions from individuals in motor vehicles. It says cities have “less speech restrictive means available” to address concerns related to panhandling. Petrello was represented by the New Hampshire American Civil Liberties Union and New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Her attorneys call the decision a victory for free speech.