Court Strikes Down Los Angeles Ban on Homeless Living in Cars

| by Michael Allen

For 31 years, the City of Los Angeles has criminalized the homeless for living in their cars when they had nowhere else to go.

However, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit struck down that law yesterday.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been arresting homeless people since 2010 for living in their cars based upon a 1983 law, which says that people may not use their cars "as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise."

The Associated Press reports that four people were cited and arrested by the LAPD homelessness task force who concluded that clothing and food found in the people's RVs and cars was evidence that they violated the 1983 law.

According to, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in the court's ruling:

Plaintiffs are left guessing as to what behavior would subject them to citation and arrest by an officer. Is it impermissible to eat food in a vehicle? Is it illegal to keep a sleeping bag? Canned food? Books? What about speaking on a cell phone? Or staying in the car to get out of the rain?

The court also ruled that the law violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, who fought for the law in court, now suddenly says he wants to help write a law "that respects both the rights and needs of homeless individuals and protects the quality of life in our neighborhoods."

Feuer even lectured the public about effectively dealing with homelessness.

"We need to make a break from the past, recognize that the civil and criminal justice systems alone can't effectively address homelessness, and commit ourselves to grappling with the issues that create homelessness in the first place," Feuer stated.

Feuer did not mention why he defended the law in the first place if this was his noble goal all along.

Sources: Associated