Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is California's Lodging Law (647e) Constitutional?

Peace Camp 2010 on the morning of July 20th, before the Sheriffs began enforcing
647 (e). Photo by Becky Johnson

LINDA'S HEARING IS FRIDAY, November 12th, 10 AM in Dept 1
at 7o1 Ocean St. Santa Cruz County Superior Court

by Linda Ellen Lemaster
Monday Nov 8th, 2010 1:09 PM
Santa Cruz County's Superior Court hears Friday, Nov 12, Constitutionality of state Lodging law 647(e) used against demonstrating sleepers from Peace Camp 2010.
While I was attempting to support demonstrating homeless and other sleepers at PeaceCamp2010, I got a lodging ticket. So now am slated to appear in Superior Court Friday, November 12, at 10am to plea. Continued Arraignment? I have asked my Public Defender, Mark Garver, to ask for a court hearing to determine whether or not the lodging law is even constitutional these days. Am told I can demurer having to say "guilty" or "not guilty" until after this hearing.

While it is hard to imagine such an antique law being constitutional, use of similar cruel tools is spreading around the country, and especially "lodging" gets applied against homeless people. I feel this resumption of laws from the past is a form of retaliation against people for their status of being "homeless" and often without money or significant property.

Another concern I felt when I first GOT a citation for allegedly trying to sleep on cement: the legal words appear to be supportive of private property and it's agents, yet the presumed crime of "sleep" occurred on public property. I believe it was selected initially by PeaceCamp2010 creators because it could be a refuge, however briefly (PeaceCamp2010 lasted over 3 months but in two locations).

Consider witnessing this hearing to determine the constitutionality of California's Lodging law: Friday, November 12, 10 am. And join me if you want, I'll be "warming up" for it in the Court/County Bldg Atrium at 9:20am, or out on the same walkway PeaceCamp2010 occupied this summer if it's warm.

Let's talk. Lives are at risk by what unfolds. This story feels "incomplete" without mention of campers' totem, Porto Potty, but you'll have to show up to hear more.