L.A. can’t seize homeless people’s belongings solely based on size, federal judge rules

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A homeless encampment is seen near the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A homeless encampment is seen near the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles in this undated photo. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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Los Angeles must stop seizing and tossing out bulky things such as mattresses, carts and dog kennels that homeless people stash on sidewalks or other public property based solely on their size, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision, which cements a tentative ruling issued in March, bars the city from enforcing a city law that bans people from keeping big items — those that cannot fit into a 60-gallon container — in public areas.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer concluded that the homeless individuals and advocacy groups that brought the case were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that the rule was unconstitutional, concluding that “the seizure and immediate destruction of bulky items only because they are bulky items is unreasonable.”

Fischer noted that the preliminary injunction still allows city crews to confiscate such belongings in other circumstances,“including when items are unattended, blocking the sidewalk, or a threat to health and safety.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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