(Associated Press/June 24, 2011 ) LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has banned law enforcement officials from confiscating and destroying the belongings of homeless people on Los Angeles' Skid Row.
District Court Judge Phillip Ramirez issued a preliminary injunction Thursday and found that the city's policy violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
In his ruling, Ramirez writes that homeless people have an expectation of privacy when they leave their possessions in public spaces for a short time to use the bathroom or eat.
The city argued that property abandoned on the street creates a hazard for the public in the revitalized downtown area.
The city also claimed that signs advising people that property left on the sidewalks would be thrown out did not justify disposing of people's possessions, but the court rejected that argument. [ZD: Not a lawyer, but looks like a typo in this AP story being sent around the world. It says, "City claimed signs...did NOT justify disposing of people's possessions...BUT the court rejected that argument." I would think it would say, "City claimed signs DID justify..." ??? But point is, it's banned.]