Saturday, August 25, 2007

Arrested again for begging without a license

The homeless man who is challenging Marion County's panhandling ordinance in federal court has again been arrested and charged with begging without a license.

David Booher, 50, was arrested as he "was squatted down holding a sign which read 'Hungry vet, God bless,'" according to a police report.

It was his seventh arrest under the county ordinance since September.

Booher is the named plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit that alleges the panhandling ordinance violates the First Amendment guarantee of free expression. It also claims the ordinance violates the equal protection clause because people soliciting money for charitable organizations are exempt from the licensing requirement.

Under the law, the county administrator issues panhandling licenses at his discretion. To get a panhandling license, a person must pay a $100 fee, pass a background check, provide a permanent address (which can be a homeless shelter) and give the location and hours they plan to beg.

Read the Ocala Star-Banner report here.


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