Effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all of its parks to be used as homeless encampments
he US Ninth Circuit continued to uphold the restriction on municipal anti-camping ordinances articulated in the landmark Martin v. City of Boise
decision by striking down a slate of ordinances in Grants Pass. The case involved challenges to five provisions of the Grants Pass Municipal Code. The provisions can be described as an “anti-sleeping” ordinance, two “anticamping” ordinances, a “park exclusion” ordinance, and a “park exclusion appeals” ordinance.
In September 2018, a three-judge panel issued Martin v. City of Boise
, holding “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.” The concept created by the court was that it was "cruel and unusual punishment" to impose penalties on persons for camping on city property if they have no other place to go. The formula established in Martin is that the government cannot prosecute homeless people for sleeping in public if there “is a greater number of homeless individuals in [a jurisdiction] than the number of available” shelter spaces.
According to the majority opinion written by Judge Roslyn O. Silver of the Arizona District in Johnson v. Grants Pass
, the City's ordinances are invalid.
At least fifty, and perhaps as many as 600, homeless persons live in the City. And the number of homeless persons outnumber the available shelter beds. In other words, homeless persons have nowhere to shelter and sleep in the City other than on the streets or in parks.
Nonetheless, City ordinances preclude homeless persons from using a blanket, a pillow, or a cardboard box for protection from the elements while sleeping within the City’s limits. The ordinances result in civil fines up to several hundred dollars per violation and persons found to violate ordinances multiple times can be barred from all City property. And if a homeless person is found on City property after receiving an exclusion order, they are subject to criminal prosecution for trespass.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Daniel P. Collins -- a Trump appointee -- scolded the majority,
In Martin v. City of Boise, we held that “the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment bars a city from prosecuting people criminally for sleeping outside on public property when those people have no home or other shelter to go to.” Even assuming that Martin remains good law, today’s decision—which both misreads and greatly expands Martin’s holding—is egregiously wrong. To make things
worse, the majority opinion then combines its gross misreading of Martin with a flagrant disregard of settled class-certification principles. The end result of this amalgamation of error is that the majority validates the core aspects of the district court’s
extraordinary injunction in this case, which effectively requires the City of Grants Pass to allow all but one of its public parks to be used as homeless encampments. I respectfully dissent.
In a footnote, Collins also took on the Martin v. City of Boise
decision, saying, "The majority’s decision is all the more troubling because, in truth, the foundation on which it is built is deeply flawed: Martin seriously
misconstrued the Eighth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s caselaw construing it. But I am bound by Martin, and -- unlike the majority -- I faithfully apply it here."
|Post Date: 2022-09-30 08:47:06||Last Update: 2022-09-30 13:43:07|