Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lawsuit update 3-25-08

Sleeping Ban Lawsuit Update 3-25-08

Many people don’t know that Santa Cruz homeless rights advocates and well known civil rights attorneys are preparing a lawsuit against the city of Santa Cruz for anti-homeless laws that violate constitutional rights. For those who have been following the issue you will find this important information.

For year’s efforts by many community members who lobbied local law makers to do the right thing for the homeless, not just the easy thing fell on deaf ears.

In early 2006 we began an outreach program to national legal organizations that support legal actions on homeless issues. This was slow and it became obvious results would not soon be forthcoming. A key turning point in our effort accrued when the U.S. 9th. Circuit Court ruled against Las Angles Camping ordinances. With this hopeful decision in L.A. in early 2007 we began to contact local legal council in a grass roots effort to bring relief from these same types of laws, and the harsh enforcement in Santa Cruz.

We now have attorneys David Beauvais, Kate Wells and Brett Bennett interviewing people that have received citations under the Santa Cruz “Camping Prohibited” laws in preparations for the law suit. These restrictive laws include 6.36.010(a) the Sleeping Ban, 6.36.010(b) the Blanket Ban and 6.36.010(c) the Camping Ban.

The largest problems with these laws are that they criminalize the homeless for using public spaces, and sleeping and camping at night. It is well documented that there is a lack of adequate emergency shelter in Santa Cruz. People are being criminalized when they make their own shelter or try to form protective groups. Other outward problems are lack of adequate medical care, community prejudice, political cowardice and rigorous Police enforcement. It’s not quit clear how homeless people are expected to live.

Our focus is on defending, restoring, and establishing civil rights for homeless people rather than lobbying for more services. We believe people should be free from police, state, and community harassment. Free to organize and to form self-help communities. It is to these ends we are willing to spend time and effort. We are looking forward to hearing from anyone about whatever legal help you can bring to the issues or questions you have.

We are looking for volunteers to work with attorneys and plaintiffs, help with community education on the issue, write letters and make phone calls.

We are in need of funds, any donations (tax deductible) can be sent to the address below.

Community Defense Inc.

For: Santa Cruz Anti-Sleeping Lawsuit

P.O. Box 7649

Santa Cruz, CA 95061

Endorsed by:

Santa Cruz Human Rights Organization (HRO),

(831) 425-4467 or 345-9685

Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom (HUFF),

(831) 423-4833

Housing Now! In Santa Cruz,

Humanity for Homeless,

This update was compiled by Bob Patton HRO and legal committee member.

Friday, January 11, 2008

We ask for the right not to sleep anywhere or everywhere , but somewhere.

Legalize Sleep
Civil rights attorney David Beauvais down in Santa Cruz rounding up plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the City and city police, talks about Santa Cruz's harsh and unique "Sleeping Ban" law. MC 6.36.010 makes the act of falling asleep on all public property and much private property a $97 crime for 1300-1500 shelterless people each night.
If you have a ticket under the following codes,
you may be able to enjoin in a lawsuit against the City to end the Sleeping Ban.
We ask for the right to sleep NOT anywhere and everywhere , but somewhere.

The Camping Ban (MC 6.36.010a) activists aptly named the Sleeping Ban makes it illegal for the simple act of sleeping -- at night. The name must fit as now even our mayor is using the term. (Watch the Sleeping Ban Debate)

In Santa Cruz, the most flagrant and demoralizing example of the criminalization of poverty is this ordinance, known as the "Camping Ban," MC 6.36.010. Section (a) prohibits the act of sleeping between 11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. anywhere outdoors or in a vehicle on both public and private property within the city limits. Activists call this the "Sleeping Ban." We are dedicated to ending this ban and finding real solutions, such as "Safe Sleeping Zones" for vehicles and campers. This is cheaper, easier to police and is a way of dealing with the issue in a legal dignified manor.

Organizations are banding together and the plaintiff list is growing. As you can see by the date of the post, the blog is just starting but will be a focal point for information, status, and ways you can help. Sleep is a human right and a basic necessity. Please help us in restoring that right.

For more information on this draconian law see the following articles on (Sleeping Ban Debate Commentary)
( Mayor lashes out & Stonewalls on Public Meetings; Lethal SCPD Harassment Surges) ( Street Spirit Editor Denounces Mayor Coonerty As "Repulsive")
(Audio) Highlights of debate with commentary played on Free Radio Santa Cruz with Robert Norse) This is an hour long but saved in FM quality so the file size is only 5.5 megs. Very worth while if you want to know the truth behind what our mayor stated during the debate.
Activists ask ACLU to help end sleeping ban )
( Open Letter to City Council regarding Sleeping Ban)
( Ongoing Protest Against the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban)

You can additionally search Google for Sleeping Ban.

Clip Cast