Jus­tices won’t re­view de­ci­sion on tick­et­ing for home­less­ness

Orlando Sentinel - - NEWS -

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will not re­view a lower court de­ci­sion that pro­tected those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness from be­ing tick­eted for sleep­ing and camp­ing on city side­walks and parks if no other shel­ter is avail­able.

With­out com­ment or noted dis­sent, the court turned down a pe­ti­tion from Boise, Idaho, whose law against camp­ing and sleep­ing on side­walks was struck down by the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 9th Cir­cuit as a vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion’s ban on cruel and un­usual pun­ish­ment.

The 9th Cir­cuit de­ci­sion ap­plies in nine West­ern states.

The 9th Cir­cuit said the Eighth Amend­ment “pro­hibits the im­po­si­tion of crim­i­nal penal­ties for sit­ting, sleep­ing, or ly­ing out­side on public prop­erty for home­less in­di­vid­u­als who can­not ob­tain shel­ter.”

Boise, joined by other cities cov­ered by the de­ci­sion, and ac­tivists for the home­less dif­fered on its ram­i­fi­ca­tions.

“The cre­ation of a de facto con­sti­tu­tional right to live on side­walks and in parks will crip­ple the abil­ity of more than 1,600 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Ninth

Cir­cuit to main­tain the health and safety of their com­mu­ni­ties,” Boise ar­gued.

But ac­tivists, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Law Cen­ter on Home­less­ness and Poverty, said the city and its ad­vo­cates had ex­ag­ger­ated the breadth of the 9th Cir­cuit’s de­ci­sion to try to win Supreme Court re­view.

“That re­sult is limited in scope, and re­flects the ought-to-be un­con­tro­ver­sial prin­ci­ple that a per­son may not be charged with a crime for en­gag­ing in ac­tiv­ity that is sim­ply a universal and un­avoid­able con­se­quence of be­ing human.”

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