AP: Federal Appeals Court Revives Boise Homeless Lawsuit


The City of Boise will need to repeat its defense of its anti-camping ordinance—aimed at curbing the city's homeless population from sleeping on sidewalks and other public places.

The Associated Press' Rebecca Boone reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling March 7 that reignites a lawsuit brought by homeless advocates against the City of Boise.

City ordinances forbid people from using streets, sidewalks, parks or public places without permission. The AP reports that between 2006 and 2009, at least seven individuals were arrested or cited for violating the ordinances. The group of homeless men and women sued the city, contending that they had no other choice but to sleep outside because local shelters were full, that at least one of the shelters required participation in faith-based ceremonies or that the homeless had already reached the maximum number of nights they were allowed to stay at the shelter.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush initially ruled in favor of the city, telling the homeless that they needed to take their argument to state appellate courts.

But a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Bush's ruling, saying the federal court indeed had jurisdiction to rule on the matter. The AP reports that the appellate court also ruled that the district court needed to consider Eighth Amendment claims of cruel and unusual punishment.