San Diego was Ordered to stop Ticketing Homeless People Living in Vehicles
Back in August, U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia ordered San Diego to stop ticketing homeless people for living inside vehicles. The judge called the city’s longtime law prohibiting this act as too vague for effective enforcement. A suit was filed last year against the law by a group of disabled homeless people living in recreational vehicles who believed the law is discriminatory. The injunction will only be in place until Judge Battaglia makes a ruling in the case, but he said that the ruling might favor the homeless people. Judge Battaglia wrote the following,
The court finds plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the ordinance is vague because it fails to alert the public what behavior is lawful and what behavior is prohibited.
Judge Battaglia believes the vehicle habitation law doesn’t clearly indicate what turns a vehicle into a person’s home or “living quarters.” The injunction also prevents the city from impounding vehicles under the ordinance and from pursuing any outstanding tickets that have been issued but not prosecuted. Despite the injection, Judge Battaglia found that a separate city ordinance prohibiting overnight parking of recreational vehicles and oversized vehicles is legally sound. There was special parking lots established last year in San Diego that allow overnight parking for homeless individuals, but they don’t accept RVs. We will have to wait and see what the judge rules regarding this issue and if the ruling influences how other cities choose to deal with the same issue.