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April 14, 2006

Homelessness and the Eighth Amendment

As well covered by How Appealing, a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit today ruled, in the words of this this Los Angeles Times article, that "Los Angeles' policy of arresting homeless people for sitting, lying or sleeping on public sidewalks as 'an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter' violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and punishment."

The majority opinion in Jones v. City of Los Angeles, No. 04-55324 (9th Cir. Apr. 13, 2006) was authored by Ninth Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw and was joined by Nevada Senior District Judge Edward Reed sitting by designation.  The opinion runs 47 pages and is available at this link.  A dissenting opinion from Ninth Circuit Judge Pamela Ann Rymer runs 25 pages and is available here.

For a variety of reasons, I think I would it is a good bet that this case will be reconsidered en banc.

UPDATE: Over at How Appealing, Howard has collected a lot of the major media coverage of the ruling here.  And Orin Kerr has some interesting commentary here about the remedy in Jones.

April 14, 2006 at 04:29 PM | Permalink


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