Friday, March 27, 2015

Homeless Issues: Relevant Cases

Allen v. City of Sacramento, No. C071710 
In this case, plaintiffs challenge defendant-city’s camping ordinance, which prohibits extended camping on public or private property without a permit. Plaintiffs assert that the camping ordinance is unconstitutional and that the City enforces the ordinance in a discriminatory manner. Judgment of dismissal is reversed with respect to the first cause of action for declaratory judgment, and affirmed in all other respects, where plaintiffs adequately stated an as-applied challenge to the ordinance based on equal protection.

United States Ninth Circuit, 03/10/2015 
CPR For Skid Row v. City of Los Angeles, No. 12-55289 
In this case, plaintiffs brought suit after they were threatened with arrest and arrested for chanting loudly in protest of an organized walk by public officials and others through Los Angeles' Skid Row. Plaintiffs challenged California Penal Code section 403, which makes it a misdemeanor to "willfully disturb or break up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character, other than an assembly or meeting referred to in section 18340 of the Elections Code." The district court's summary judgment dismissing the action is affirmed in part and reversed in part, where: 1) CPC section 403 is not unconstitutional on its face; but 2) section 403 was unconstitutionally applied to plaintiffs' activities; 3) the plain language of the statute and its legislative history demonstrate that section 403 does not cover political meetings, as here; and 4) because plaintiffs' activities fell within the exception carved out by Elections Code section 18340, CPC section 403 did not criminalize plaintiffs' conduct.

submitted by Christina Allbright

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