HOMELESS SLEEP IS NOW "A PUBLIC NUISANCE"
Coming back to court are Miguel deLeon and Anna Richardson, charged by City Attorneys Susan and John Barisone with being a "public nuisance".
Over the last 2 years, Richardson and deLeon haven't dealt with about 30 tickets--most of them for violating the 11 PM-8:30 AM Santa Cruz City Sleeping Ban (for which the fine is $97).
They now face Judge Burdick and the threat of an Injunction which will punish them with immediate jail if they are found in contempt of court for daring to sleep at night in Santa Cruz (or sit too close to a building, be in a park after dark, etc.).
Attorneys Jonathan Gettleman and Mark Briscoe are defending them at their own expense.
Gettleman discussed the case on Free Radio at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090326.mp3
(download and fast forward about 1/4 of the way through the audio file).
The Sentinel's biased story on the case can be found at [http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_11964700?IADID=Search-www.santacruzsentinel.com-www.santacruzsentinel.com
Attorneys Gettleman and Beauvais discussed the case in a radio interview at: http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090521.mp3
ELIMINATING CIVIL RIGHTS TO PLEASE SHOPKEEPERS
In a bid to please the Downtown Association, the City Attorney is moving unlawfully punish homeless people without shelter for sleeping at night--a survival requirement.
The Sleeping Ban is bad enough. This new injunction amounts to a new sleeping ban without a trial and without a requirement that guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" be found (the standard is the lower "preponderance of the evidence").
It will also allow the two to be jailed--something which the City Council, under pressure from homeless activists--made illegal in 1999. The slightly-reforjmed Sleeping Ban still made survival sleeping illegal but limited punishment to a $54 fine and/or 8 hours of community service. The fine has grown since then with court add-on's. In February of this year City Council passed a new law making 3 unpaid tickets a jailing offense.
Getting an injunction circumvents both laws, simply allowing judges to jail the couple without a trial for sleeping.
If successful for the city attorney, the case could set a dangerous precedent.
COME SHOW SUPPORT
Gettleman has asked that the public come to the hearing to show silent support for the couple. He describes the proposed injunction as a rare attempt to circumvent due process (the two haven't been found guilty of the alleged offenses in criminal trials but are simply faced with citations.