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Litigation of Boise Anti-Camping Ordinance Could Have National Implications

A lawsuit in Boise could decide the future of one policy response to homelessness—making it illegal to sleep in public.
August 10, 2015, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday urged a judge to block enforcement of an anti-camping ordinance in Boise, Idaho," reports Gale Holland.

Ryan J. Reilly also provides coverage of the Justice Department position. Here's how he explains the opinion of the Justice Department:

"Attorneys in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division argued that 'the conduct of sleeping in a public place is indistinguishable from the status of homelessness' and that it should be 'uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human' violates the Eighth Amendment. They noted that 'finding a safe and legal place to sleep can be difficult or even impossible' for many homeless people."

Gale Holland's implies the potential national reach of any decision that could arise from this development. According to Holland, "the outcome in Boise could reverberate in Los Angeles -- where officials are considering resuming enforcement of the city's own anti-camping ordinance, considered among the strictest in the country." The Los Angeles ordinance "bans sleeping, sitting or lying on sidewalks and other public property."

The Justice Department was responding the ongoing litigation in the case of Bell vs. City of Boise, brought by a group of homeless individuals in 2009 in response to the city's anti-camping ordinance. George Prentice reports on the local reaction to the Justice Department's statement.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, August 6, 2015 in Los Angeles Times
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