Supreme Court to hear Grants Pass homeless case April 22nd

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Next month the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case out of Grants Pass regarding criminalizing sleeping in public spaces.

Martin v. Boise and Grants Pass v. Johnson have prevented cities from punishing people for sleeping in public spaces when they have nowhere else to go.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals denied a re-hearing of the case last year.

This comes after the court ruled against the City of Grants Pass in 2022.

The ruling ordered the City of Grants Pass to cease enforcing its ban on homeless people sleeping on public property.

Now the Supreme Court will hear the case on April 22nd.

City of Grants Pass Attorney Augustus Ogu said, “in effect, the federal courts have wrestled control away from local cities to deal with homelessness in their own individual ways and it’s something that probably needs to be dealt with through the democratic process.”

The City of Grants Pass hopes the supreme court will issue a ruling in the summer of 2024.

The City of San Diego has joined Grants Pass in the lawsuit.

Ed Johnson, the lead counsel for the respondents in the case, said it hinges on whether cities should be able to prioritize criminalization over solutions.

Johnson said, “criminalization of our neighbors that have been forced to live outside, is not a solution. It’s very expensive, it wastes limited resources.”

Johnson said every court that has heard the case has ruled against Grants Pass so far.

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Former NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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