Boise Continues Fight Against Appeal Of Anti-Public Sleeping Ordinance

Oct 25, 2018

The City of Boise is doubling down on its legal battle to appeal a federal court ruling on an ordinance that bans sleeping in public.



Boise City Council voted this week to pay lawyers another $200,000 to defend itself in a long-running court case on how the city deals with its homeless population. Now, their legal funds total $400,000.


Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said a Boise ordinance that bans sleeping outside violates the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.


The city is waiting on a request to rehear the case, but could eventually appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. U of I law professor Shaakirrah Sanders says the Supreme Court may or may not take on their case.


“It’s unclear whether the city has the type of case that the U.S. Supreme Court would look favorably upon in terms of granting a rebuke," she says.


Under the ordinance, police can’t write someone a ticket if the shelters report to the city that they’re full. But some people are banned from certain shelters for a period of time if they don’t take mandatory religious classes.


Judges appealing the ordinance say this also violates the First Amendment, which protects freedom of religion.


Sanders says that unless Boise is issued a stay from one of three federal courts, the city won’t be able to enforce the ordinance.


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