Homeless People Cannot Be Prosecuted by Cities for Sleeping Outside If There’s No Access to Shelter, Appeals Court Rules

A homeless encampment is seen along Grand Avenue in South Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A homeless encampment is seen along Grand Avenue in South Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property when they have no access to shelter violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned a district court decision in favor of the city of Boise, Idaho, in a case in which homeless people challenged two city ordinances that barred them from staying overnight on public property.

The ruling will protect the homeless not only in Boise but in California and other Western states from ordinances that punish them for being unable to obtain shelter.

The challengers, who had been cited under the Boise ordinances, sought damages and a court order barring the city from enforcing the laws.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.