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Supreme Court: Homelessness is not a Crime

Supreme Court: Homelessness is not a Crime
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The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a September 2018 ruling that cities cannot prosecute people for sleeping on the street if they are homeless. Doing so is defined as “cruel and unusual punishment,” which is illegal under the U.S. Constitution.

The original ruling, which came from the 9th Circuit, stems from a lawsuit filed by six homeless people living in Boise, Idaho. The group sued over a local law that allowed police to ticket individuals for sleeping or camping on sidewalks and in parks.

In its ruling, the 9th panel was careful to specify that it was not asking Boise to construct shelters for its 5,000 homeless or unilaterally allow sleeping in all public areas at all times. Rather, the 9th ruled it improper to throw people in jail for sleeping in public areas based on the false premise that they had other options.

“Just as the state may not criminalize the state of being homeless in public spaces, the state may not criminalize conduct that is an unavoidable consequence of being homeless – namely sitting, lying, or sleeping on the streets,” wrote Judge Marsha Berzon.

Author’s Note: Unfortunately there will always be people who fail and lose their homes, but being poor is not a crime.

Editor’s Note: We have written about this before. As much as I am in favor of people earning their keep, this is not always possible. Calling it a crime is stupid and cruel.

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8 Comments

  1. Laura Wagner

    The problem comes in with the human waste that can accumulate on the sidewalks, in front of businesses and in public parks. Human feces does cause health hazards to the entirety of the public, regardless of any other situation. That issue needs to be addressed and does cost taxpayer money even to supply port-a-potties. I agree that criminalizing being poor and homeless is stupid and cruel, but there are other problems to go with the homelessness. I wish I had a solution, but I don’t.

    Reply
  2. tommyboy

    Let’s turn the NY U.N. building in Manhattan into a luxury homeless shelter The U.N. can go to Europe and we will solve the homeless problem at the same time. We pay for it anyway but now we will get something for our money.

    Reply
  3. GEORGE EADY

    THIS IS A GOOD THING FOR THE HOMELESS. AFTER ALL THEY DONT TO BE OUT THERE . AND LESS KEEP IN MIND . MOST OF THE HOMELESS ARE VETS . THEY NEED HELP NOT JAIL. AND FOR WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN THROW . IT IS OWED

    Reply
    • Buzzinoffski

      ” Most of them are veterans ” ? Source please ?

      Reply
  4. Joey t

    Maybe the justices should open their mansions so they have some where to go. As far as vets are concerned they are treated worse than illegals. Just keep in mind many of those in power now were spitting on our soldiers when they came home. Maybe their estates should be responsible for helping them since they give the people’s money to illegals.

    Reply
    • Tillie Jones

      Ask Pelosi and Waters to open their mansions to the homeless or fish out some money

      Reply
  5. Andrea Al-tairi

    We are dealing with the Nomad decree who could condemn a man be cause someone is evicted to the sahara, gobi, or even the Sonoma desert? The Bedouin are a validated part of the complete story of life, when they are condemned or made scapegoats Jehovah has to literally step in to defend his chosen …..when you mess with the least of these you do it also unto me…..

    Reply
  6. IKE

    Right On!! Criminalizing what choices homeless people are forced to do by circumstances beyond their control is evidence of criminal malicious conduct by public officials.

    Reply

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