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LA City Attorney Files Brief With SCOTUS on Homelessness

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LOS ANGELES — Amidst a nationwide homeless crisis, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office has filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to take the case of Martin v. Boise.

In the wake of that decision, issued by a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, LA is asking the Supreme Court to clarify the extent of the City’s authority with respect to the conduct of homeless residents who dwell on its streets.

“The City agrees with a central tenet of Boise – that no individual should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on the sidewalk at night, if no alternative shelter is available,” the brief states. “But Boise’s rationale sweeps too broadly, and the opinion is internally inconsistent and unclear.

“By raising more issues than it resolves, the decision leaves jurisdictions like Los Angeles without the certainty necessary to balance intensely competing interests without risking costly and time-consuming litigation.”

“Homelessness is a public health and safety emergency which requires a careful balance on our streets,” said Feuer.

“Boise’s lack of clarity could place the City at risk of litigation as leaders strive to fashion the humane, practical solutions this crisis urgently demands. We hope the Supreme Court will take the case and provide needed guidance.”

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