California appeals court rules homeless have right to sleep on sidewalks, in parks

Jan 16, 2024 | Political News

An appellate court upheld a ruling last week limiting San Francisco's efforts to clear drug encampments from sidewalks and public areas.

The three-judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Coalition on Homeless, represented by the ACLU, and prevented “the City and County of San Francisco from enforcing any ordinance that punishes sleeping, lodging, or camping on public property.”

The progressive advocacy organization challenged San Francisco's policies for clearing encampments and the court used a broad interpretation of The 8th Amendment which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

In the ruling, Circuit Judge Lucy H. Koh wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Circuit Judge Roopali H. Desai who are both Biden appointees. The opinion used an interpretation that said it was “cruel and unusual” to prevent the homeless from sleeping in public.