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NY Panhandlers Get Class-Action Status

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Eugene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-25-07 06:08 AM
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NY Panhandlers Get Class-Action Status
Source: Associated Press

NY Panhandlers Get Class-Action Status

Wednesday July 25, 2007 3:31 AM


Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday granted class-
action status to thousands of suspected panhandlers arrested or
forced off streets over the past 15 years by police who used a
law that was declared unconstitutional.

In a ruling critical of police and prosecutors, U.S. District Judge
Shira Scheindlin also made defendants of 553 law enforcement
agencies in 62 counties statewide in a lawsuit brought on behalf
of anybody illegally subjected to the law.

In October 1992, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet in Manhattan
ruled that a state law violated the First Amendment when it allowed
the arrest of anyone who loiters, remains or wanders about in a
public place for the purpose of begging. That ruling was upheld
by a federal appeals court.

Scheindlin has repeatedly expressed her dismay that New York City
has continued enforcing the law after it was ruled unconstitutional,
though the city recently has insisted it has taken steps to stop.


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