April 21, 2021


justice always right

Top court strikes down state’s anti-panhandling law

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts on Tuesday struck down a state regulation earning it unlawful for folks to question for revenue for their personal support on community roadways.

A conclusion from the Supreme Judicial Court located that the legislation violated absolutely free speech legal rights since it prohibited men and women from requesting dollars for individual aid on roadways but exclusively authorized the sale of newspapers or party tickets.

The court concluded that asking motorists for particular donations “poses no higher menace to site visitors security than engaging in the exact same carry out for other” uses that are permitted under the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts challenged the ordinance in a 2019 lawsuit accusing Tumble River of intense enforcement. The group represented two homeless adult males who were being accused of violating the regulation extra than 40 periods by Slide River law enforcement.

Paul Coogan, the mayor of Slide River, claimed he supports the court’s decision. Even right before the ruling, the city experienced stopped enforcing the law, he claimed.

“We have to make guaranteed in Massachusetts we address all folks and teams similarly, and that’s mainly what the courtroom stated,” Coogan stated.

The ACLU of Massachusetts urged regulation enforcement companies across the condition to choose heed of the determination.

“This ruling is timely, as a increasing selection of Massachusetts people may well need to have to depend on assist from the general public to make finishes meet up with in the deal with of our current economic downturn,” reported Ruth Bourquin, senior and taking care of lawyer of the team.

The civil legal rights team explained identical “anti-panhandling” ordinances in Worcester and Lowell have been dominated unconstitutional in new several years.