The Voice of Poverty and Disability

Home The Voice of Poverty and Disability

Too High a Price!

  • Dragonfli (780 posts)
    Profile photo of Dragonfli Donor

    Too High a Price!

    WHAT CRIMINALIZING HOMELESSNESS
    COSTS COLORADO

    THE HOMELESS ADVOCACY POLICY PROJECT (HAPP) is part of the Experiential Advantage
    Curriculum at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Eleven law students collaborated to author this policy
    report under the supervision of Professor Nantiya Ruan.

    http://www.law.du.edu/documents/homeless-advocacy-policy-project/2-16-16-Final-Report.pdf

    The section on unconstitutionality of anti-homeless laws is interesting.

    A. Shifts Towards Overturning Anti-Homeless Laws in Colorado

    The ordinances that prohibit behaviors inextricably linked to homeless status are often found unconstitutional by today’s courts. Specifically, begging and panhandling bans, camping bans, sit/lie prohibitions, and vagrancy laws are each tied to homeless status and for different reasons, unconstitutional, and should be stricken from the municipal codes.

    Begging and Panhandling Bans: Fifty-five of Colorado’s seventy-six largest cities have at least one law restricting begging or panhandling.49 These laws are ripe for legal battles against ordinances discriminately affecting individuals living in poverty. While other bans may be unconstitutionally vague, advocates have challenged begging and panhandling bans as violations of First Amendment protections of free speech.50

    Undoubtedly, begging and panhandling bans specifically target people in poverty, and the federal district court in Colorado has become a leader in revealing the unconstitutionality of these discriminatory ordinances. In Browne v. City of Grand Junction, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado found Grand Junction’s prohibitions against panhandling were unconstitutional violations of protected free speech.51 Grand Junction’s now unconstitutional ordinance prohibited soliciting money under specific circumstances and in specific locations—amounting to a near universal ban on begging and panhandling.52 The plaintiff argued that these bans violated freedom of speech, were unconstitutionally vague, and discriminately affected a protected class.53 The defendant argued that the bans were narrowly tailored to a legitimate government interest, that poverty and wealth do not define a protected class, that the prohibitions were rationally related to a legitimate government interest, and that the prohibitions were detailed enough to not be unconstitutionally vague.54

    Because government cannot “restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content,55 the court first determined that the panhandling ordinance was a “content based” prohibition (as opposed to a “content neutral” prohibition) that, “‘on its face’ draws distinctions based on the message [the] speaker conveys.”56 Based on a recent Supreme Court case vacating a finding that a panhandling ordinance was neutral on its face, Judge Christine Arguello of the District of Colorado found a panhandling ban is a content-based restriction.57 Therefore, the court analyzed the bans under a strict scrutiny test: the panhandling ordinance needed to “serve a compelling state interest” and be the “least restrictive means” to achieving that end.58 The court found Grand Junction’s panhandling bans were “over-inclusive because they prohibit protected speech that poses no threat to public safety.”59 In light of this holding, the court also recognized, in dicta, that certain forms of panhandling can be overly aggressive or threatening and, therefore, could be banned; however, the plaintiff had not challenged those sections of the ordinances.60….

    I have only reproduced the first 4 chapters of this section, quite frankly, as strongly as I suggest reading this section, I suggest that as the very least, the entire document is well worth the time IMNSHO, (link to full PDF above)

     

    bbgrunt, Pangolino, djean111 and 11 othershistorylovr, sonofspy777, canoeist52, FanBoy, Enthusiast, PADemD, twenty, elias39, dreamnightwind, Haikugal, Iwillnevergiveup like this

    “We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” Thurgood Marshall    

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

▼ Hide Reply Index
7 replies
  • Haikugal (4641 posts)
    Profile photo of Haikugal Donor

    1. Thanks for this information! Rec and bookmarked for reading tomorrow.

      Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
  • Enthusiast (5965 posts)
    Profile photo of Enthusiast Donor

    2. Good thing this is a Christian nation. Otherwise people might be treated cruelly

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. There would be no place to hide."  Frank Church
    • Dragonfli (780 posts)
      Profile photo of Dragonfli Donor

      5. The most "Christ like" man I've ever known, and still know, that embraces

      such ideas as compassion toward the less fortunate and a disdain of cruelty, is actually a Muslim from Karbala Iraq.

      I’ve seen him as he stopped total strangers “panhandling” for food, not to deride them cruelly as is the habit of most among the middle class in our country, but rather to drive them to the store and buy them large amounts of non perishable food. He has even invited the weaker ones to stay at his home until they were stronger or could reach their family.

      He once asked me, “don’t your people take care of even their own neighbors here”? He still finds the concept of how we treat those in need barbaric and cruel and he has been here since fleeing his home after his house was blown up just after the first gulf war when he acted as a translator for american infantry, he had little choice but to flee.

      This is an Anti-Christian nation, the evil some call “devil” goes by many names and false teachings.

      “We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” Thurgood Marshall    

      • Enthusiast (5965 posts)
        Profile photo of Enthusiast Donor

        7. Excellent story. You are right, of course.

        "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. There would be no place to hide."  Frank Church
  • FanBoy (6257 posts)
    Profile photo of FanBoy

    3. but wealth does constitute a protected class; the government was founded

    on that very principle and has almost always followed through

     

    the court also recognized, in dicta, that certain forms of panhandling can be overly aggressive or threatening and, therefore, could be banned; however, the plaintiff had not challenged those sections of the ordinances.

    • Dragonfli (780 posts)
      Profile photo of Dragonfli Donor

      4. Even a quick read of Howard Zinn's work would dispel any notion of

      a more evolved society than you describe.

      But like the fool I am (and so much more so when younger). I had always dreamt that human empathy and a more decent form of humanity itself, although dormant in many, would grow as our human society evolved, a, growth not only of mind and science (or rather the toys such produce) but in heart and compassion as well.

      It appears I was never more than a fool, one that knew the cruelties of human nature and lack of empathy first hand, save for exceptions oddly found among the lower classes that were always the most generous and kind when I was the hungriest, soaked or cold as a teen in distress and alone.

      “They with the least always share the most”, that should be the motto of our society as it would be the least dishonest. The hippies turned into coke addled yuppies as I watched, and greed became “even better” (“greed was good” as described in a popular movie) and we since have devolved still further into an inverted nightmare of that dream I once held.

      I had hoped for evolution, but see only devolution, your post is far from inaccurate yet within the shattered bits of that ” goddamn piece of paper” not left in the boil encrusted  asses of the last several presidents when used as toilet paper, there is still a preponderance of defense against such genocidal laws, even in this cruel country deserving of it’s imminent annihilation, be they ignored or not.

      “We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” Thurgood Marshall    

      • FanBoy (6257 posts)
        Profile photo of FanBoy

        6. we live in hope and die in despair; hang in there.