Oct. 1 Price/Mungo/Uranga/Austin Agenda Item Seeks Ways To Submit Subsequent Brief If Four Supreme Court Justices Agree To Hear The Case" />
Multiple Cities Filed "Friend of Court" Briefs Urging US Supreme Court To Review Lower Court Opinion That Blocks Local Laws Against Vagrants/Homeless Sleeping Outdoors Unless Sufficient Shelter Beds Available; City of LB Missed Deadline To Submit Initial Brief...But
|UPDATE: As seen LIVE: Council votes
(Sept. 27, 2019, 4:45 a.m.) -- Multiple CA cities (including L.A.) and counties (including the L.A. County Board of Supervisors/3-2 vote), plus groups representing local governments, neighborhoods and business interests (listed by LBREPORT.com below) filed or joined in filing "Friend of the Court" briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review of a 9th Circuit federal appeals court opinion (Martin vs. City of Boise, Sept. 6, 2018 LBREPORT.com coverage here) that struck down as cruel and unusual punishment local laws against vagrants/homeless persons sleeping in public areas outdoors unless local government offers sufficient available beds indoors.
But despite visible homeless issues along LB sidewalks, parks and beaches, the City of Long Beach (L.A. County's second largest city) wasn't among them.
The deadline for submitting a "Friend of the Court" brief, or to join in briefs submitted by others, urging the Supreme Court to review the Martin opinion passed on Sept. 25, 2019. On Sept. 23, 2019, LB Councilwoman Price joined by Councilmembers Stacy Mungo, Roberto Uranga and Al Austin, submitted this item to the City Clerk's office to schedule a Council agenda item seeking ways to "explore joining an amicus brief" urging Supreme Court review the Martin opinion.
Since the next regularly scheduled Council meeting isn't until Oct. 1 (past the initial filing deadline), the City of Long Beach won't have an opportunity to state its position on the homeless/vagrant issues created by the Martin opinion UNLESS four of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine Justice's vote to "grant certiorari" and agree to review Martin on its merits.
IF four Supreme Justices do agree to review the Martin opinion, the LB City Council could have an opportunity to submit a "Friend of the Court" brief "on the merits," that is, on the Martin opinion's reasoning that effectively gave homeless/vagrants a constitutional right to sleep on public sidewalks, in public parks (and beaches) without fear of criminal punishment unless local government can show the City has sufficient shelter beds available indoors.
The lower court opinion in Martin has almost certainly affected City of LB's responses to homeless/vagrant populations and well as to neighborhood residents dismayed by the status quo. The City's future opportunity to express its view and contribute to influencing a U.S. Supreme Court decision on this major matter is the focus of the Price-Mungo-Uranga-Austin Oct. 1 agenda item (text below.) The four agendizing Councilmembers write:
[Scroll down for further.]
[Oct.1 Price-Mungo-Uranga-Austin agendizing memo text] ...[The Martin opinion] severely limits our ability to address issues of homelessness and the appropriate protections of the rights held by everyone to access public spaces. The City needs to have the ability to appropriately regulate public camping and enforce our City ordinances with the objective of protecting everyone equally and maintaining public health standards.
Left unclear for the moment: should the City of LB urge the Court to simply tweak/clarify parts of the Martin opinion while accepting its basic "cruel and unusual punishment" reasoning? Or should the City urge the Court to overturn all or large parts of lower court's opinion in Martin that have impacted LB's enforcement of its otherwise valid vagrancy/encampment laws? Those decisions would become matters for future Council discussion, public input and a Council vote if four Supreme Court Justices agree to hear the Martin case (giving the City an opportunity to file a "Friend of the Court" brief on the merits.)
LBREPORT.com provides the text of the Price-Mungo-Uranga-Austin agendizing memo below, followed by links to the multiple "Friend of the Court" briefs timely filed by parties urging Supreme Court review of the Martin case. .
[Oct. 1 Price-Mungo-Uranga-Austin agendizing memo text]
The U.S. Supreme Court denies most petitions for certiorari and lets most lower court opinions stand...but in April 2019, four of the 9th district's appeals court judges expressed strongly worded disagreement with their 9th circuit colleagues' reasoning in Martin (at one point including a newspaper photo of a downtown L.A. homeless encampment in their dissent.)
Multiple cities, counties, states, municipal advocacy, business and neighborhood groups timely filed "Friend of the Court" briefs by the Sept. 25 deadline urging the Supreme Court to take up the Martin case. LBREPORT.com lists and links to their briefs below.
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