Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Ninth Circuit Rules on Homeless Camping

November 2018 Bar Bulletin

By Emily Miner

In early September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, deciding Martin v. City of Boise, held that the homeless cannot be penalized for sleeping outdoors on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter — a bed must be practically available and accessible for a citation to issue.1

Case History

In response to a significant and growing homeless population, Boise adopted two ordinances aimed at addressing the increased use of public places to sit or sleep. Six homeless people challenged the ordinances, alleging that they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

After the plaintiffs...

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