Monday, June 13, 2005

Beggar sues cops -- and the DA says he's right!

Hundreds of panhandlers have been arrested, charged and punished under a New York law that was declared unconstitutional over a decade ago.

A class-action lawsuit was filed last week. The Bronx DA said the homeless panhandler who brought the suit is right, and prosecutors immediately said they would take steps to halt the practice.

The panhandling statute – used to arrest beggars in the streets and the subways, as well as people with squeegees who solicited money from drivers at street corners – was challenged in court in 1990. A federal judge ruled in October 1992 that the law, which permitted the arrest of a person who "loiters, remains or wanders about in a public place for the purpose of begging," violated the First Amendment. The judge ordered NYPD to stop enforcing it. The city appealed and lost. In response, the City Council passed a new, more specific law aimed at "aggressive panhandling." Nevertheless, arrests continued under the old, unconstitutional statute, which the judge traced to 1788.

Read The New York Times story here and the New York Daily News Story here.

Thanks to Indefensible for the links.


At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Michael said...

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