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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Health, Housing, and Public Services
LA Code 41.18 (d); Policing Our Way Out of Homelessness
The L.A. Municipal Code 41.18 (d) remains an easy way for police to criminalize homeless individuals and make their lives more difficult than they already are, resulting in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court to rule in their "Jones vs. City of L.A." case that this code violates the U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment (No cruel and unusual punishment). Certain officers issue citations to people arbitrarily without providing ANY time for individuals to comply.
Though i am not currently homeless i was cited for sitting on a sidewalk even when i was compliant and said that i would go over to the park. Was already standing when LAPD officers handcuffed then issued 41.18 d citation, this violates their agreement with the 9th Circuit Court. Was not given ANY time to walk over to the park and was cited instead, maybe this is a way to generate tax revenue?
The actual text of the 9th Circuit Court (of which Eugene is a part) settlement is quoted below. Because it is a “settlement” (not a “decision”) it does not establish precedent. However, it clearly states the belief of the court and the court would typically come to the same conclusion in a similar case.
APPENDIX B: Text of Jones v. City of Los Angeles Settlement Agreement
JONES V. CITY OF LOS ANGELES
It is hereby agreed among Appellants and Appellees (collectively, “the
Settling Parties”) in Jones v. City of Los Angeles, Case Number 04-55324 in the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:
1. The Los Angeles Police Department will issue a policy directive stating that
it will not enforce Los Angeles Municipal Code (“LAMC”) section 41.18(d)
between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., except as set forth in Paragraphs
2 and 3 below. The Los Angeles Police Department will keep this policy in effect
and operate according to this policy until an additional 1250 units of permanent
supportive housing are constructed within the City of Los Angeles, at least 50 per
cent of which are located in Skid Row and/or greater downtown Los Angeles.
These units shall be constructed as housing for current or formerly chronically
homeless persons and shall not include housing units already existing as low
income housing units and/or occupied as low income housing within the past 6
2. LAMC section 41.18(d) will be enforceable at all times at locations within
ten (10) feet of any operational and utilizable entrance, exit, driveway or loading
3. Measurement of Distance
a) Entrance/Exit to Building: 10 feet measured perpendicularly from the outer
edges of the opening, along the exterior wall of the building, and from those
points the area encompassed by the measurement shall extend to the curb line.
b) Entrance/Exit to Parking Lot: 10 feet measured perpendicularly from the
outer edges of the driveway, and from those points the area encompassed by the
measurement shall extend to the curb line.
c) Loading Dock: 10 feet measured perpendicularly from the outer edges of
the opening, whether raised or not, and from those points the area encompassed
by the measurement shall extend to the curb line.
4. No person shall be cited or arrested for a violation of LAMC section
41.18(d) unless a peace officer for the City of Los Angeles has first given the
person a verbal warning regarding such section and reasonable time to move
and the person has not complied with that warning.
5. The Settling Parties agree that this Settlement Agreement is limited to
LAMC section 41.18(d) as presently codified and will not apply to any ordinance
enacted by Appellee City of Los Angeles in the future, nor will this Settlement
Agreement serve to limit Appellee City’s right to repeal or amend said section.
6. Upon the Settling Parties’ execution of this Settlement Agreement, the
Settling Parties shall file a joint motion in the Ninth Circuit pursuant to Federal
Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 42(b) seeking to:
vacate the Ninth Circuit opinion (Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118
(9th Cir. 2006)) as moot; and
remand to the District Court for further proceedings in accordance Paragraph 7 of
this Settlement Agreement.
If the Ninth Circuit does not grant the joint motion in its entirety, this Settlement
Agreement is rendered void in its entirety.
7. Upon remand from the Ninth Circuit pursuant to Paragraph 6 of this
Settlement Agreement, Plaintiffs-Appellants will dismiss the action with prejudice
against all defendants.
8. The Settling Parties reserve all rights regarding recovery of attorneys’
Carol A. Sobel, Esq.
Mark Rosenbaum, Esq.
Richard H. Llewellyn, Jr., Esq.
Los Angeles Municipal Code § 41.18(a), ...
Policing Our Way Out of Homelessness?
What were the local governing agencies expecting to accomplish by punishing and persecuting the unfortunate folks who are merely attempting to survive by living within their means?! That is to reference the inappropriately created ordinances by cities and counties throughout the country making it a crime for camping in public as termed by Sonoma County amongst others. However it is worded, it merely skirts around the formerly abolished vagrancy laws and literally violates Civil Liberties as I have advocated since these laws began to be put into place.
In April, 2006 the U.S. 9th District Appeals Court ruled that "making it a crime to be homeless by charging them with a crime is in violation of the 8th Amendment." The previous link provides the complete transcript. Excerpts of that transcript in the following:
L.A., Cal., Mun. Code ss 41.18(d) (2005).
A violation of section 41.18(d) is punishable by
a fine of up to $1000 and/or imprisonment of up
to six months.
Id. ss 11.00(m).
The City could not expressly criminalize the status of homelessness by making it a crime to be homeless without violating the Eighth Amendment, nor can it criminalize acts that are an integral aspect of that status. Because there is substantial and undisputed evidence that the number of homeless persons in Los Angeles far exceeds the number of available shelter beds at all times, including on the nights of their arrest or citation, Los Angeles has encroached upon Appellants' Eighth Amendment protections by criminalizing the unavoidable act of sitting, lying or sleeping at night while being involuntarily homeless.
Jones argues that LAMC ss 41.18(d) makes criminal what biology and circumstance make necessary, that is, sitting, lying, and sleeping on the streets. He maintains that the gap between the number of homeless persons in Los Angeles, and the number of available shelter beds, leaves thousands without shelter every night. Jones claims that some 42,000 people are homeless each night in the City of Los Angeles, with approximately 11,000 living in the Skid Row area. The number of homeless persons exceeds the number of available shelter beds. Of the 11,000 on Skid Row, approximately 7,000 sleep in a single room occupancy facility and 2,000 stay in emergency shelter facilities.
We do not suggest that Los Angeles adopt any particular social policy, plan, or law to care for the homeless. See Johnson v. City of Dallas, 860 F. Supp. 344, 350-51 (N.D. Tex.1994), rev'd on standing grounds, 61 F.3d 442 (5th Cir. 1995). We do not desire to encroach on the legislative and executive functions reserved to the City Council and the Mayor of Los Angeles. There is obviously a "homeless problem" in the City of Los Angeles, which the City is free to address in any way that it sees fit, consistent with the constitutional principles we have articulated.
id. at 568 n.31
(Fortas, J., dissenting); the Eighth Amendment
prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting,
lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an
unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless
without shelter in the City of Los Angeles
That being an impossibility, by criminalizing sitting, lying, and sleeping, the City is in fact criminalizing Appellants' status as homeless individuals. Similarly, applying Robinson and Powell, courts have found statutes criminalizing the status of vagrancy to be unconstitutional. For example, Goldman v. Knecht declared unconstitutional a Colorado statute making it a crime for "'[a]ny person able to work and support himself'" to "'be found loitering or strolling about, frequenting public places,...begging or leading an idle, immoral or profligate course of life, or not having any visible means of support.'" 295 F. Supp. 897, 899 n.2, 908 (D. Colo. 1969) (three-judge court); see also Wheeler v. Goodman, 306 F. Supp. 58, 59 n.1, 62, 66 (W.D.N.C. 1969) (three judge court) (striking down as unconstitutional under Robinson a statute making it a crime to, inter alia, be able to work but have no property or "'visible and known means'" of earning a livelihood), vacated on other grounds, 401 U.S. 987 (1971).
Protection against deprivations of life, liberty and property without due process is, of course, the role of the Fourteenth Amendment, not the Eighth. The majority's analysis of the substantive component of the Eighth Amendment blurs the two. However, the Eighth Amendment does not afford due process protection when a Fourteenth Amendment claim proves unavailing.
The defense encompasses the very difficulties that Jones posits here: sleeping on the streets because alternatives were inadequate and economic forces were primarily to blame for his predicament. Id. at 390. Jones argues that he and other homeless people are not willing or able to pursue such a defense because the costs of pleading guilty are so low and the risks and challenges of pleading innocent are substantial.
By our decision, we in no way dictate to the City that it must provide sufficient shelter for the homeless, or allow anyone who wishes to sit, lie, or sleep on the streets of Los Angeles at any time and at any place within the City. All we hold is that, so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in Los Angeles than the number of available beds, the City may not enforce section 41.18(d) at all times and places throughout the City against homeless individuals for involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public.
The complete official court transcript can be found here >>> The 9th District Federal Court of Appeals includes the opinions of the judges.
HOWEVER - . . . some areas in California (Sonoma County, L.A., and San Francisco) if not stupid stupid, then they are being soooo . . . arrogant as to continue to violate Civil Rights in this manner!!
. . . and now the "Homeland Security" mentality is protecting WHOSE homeland while pissing off the rest of the world enough to cause such a wonderful life we have now realized!!!!!?????!!
Awareness... not - ABOUT homelessness, but of the injustice to these many folks who had no clue (until personally impacted)! It's a rude awakening finding out the hard way, but then it's useless to complain then. Encouraging a focus on reducing the causes of the increase of folks resorting to attempt living within inadequate means after passing the point of the proverbial "one pay check away". Perpetuating a criminal element (and many expand that when there is nothing else to lose), is not only counterproductive but everyone pays! As the differences between wage earnings and housing costs continues to widen, so also does the ability to recover. The volumes affected already will not recover long after wages become affordable in relationship with the approaching costs of living!
The Watch Dogs are Watching
the Watch Dogs!!