Is it a constitutional right to sleep on the sidewalk if you have nowhere else to go? It's a question the U.S. Supreme Court could answer if justices opt to hear the prominent homeless rights case, Martin et. al. v. City of Boise, Idaho.
The case has sent shockwaves across the West, a region where unsheltered homelessness is increasingly visible and public frustration with it is boiling over.
The high court is scheduled to consider taking up Martin v. Boise on Friday. The case revolves around claims by several currently and formerly homeless plaintiffs that the city of Boise violated their constitutional rights by criminally prosecuting them for sleeping outside. Plaintiffs argued it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
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Carol Sobel, civil rights attorney who has brought on various challenges against Los Angeles’ criminalization of homelessness; she represented Jones in the Jones vs. Los Angeles case, in which an appeals court ruled that the city can’t enforce its rules against homeless individuals involuntarily sleeping in public
Elizabeth Mitchell, attorney for the LA Alliance on Human Rights, a coalition of downtown-LA based stakeholders to address homelessness; she represented the International Downtown Association (IDA), which drafted one of the amicus briefs on behalf of Boise