A federal appellate court is again looking at the lawsuit brought by homeless Idaho residents against the city of Boise over ordinances that bar sleeping and camping in public spaces.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down the ruling Thursday, sending the lawsuit back to Boise's U.S. District Court for consideration.
Attorney Howard Belodoff and Idaho Legal Aid sued the city and the Boise Police Department in 2009 on behalf of eight homeless residents who had been arrested or cited for violating the city's rules against sleeping in public. The group contends that the ordinances criminalize homelessness because shelters are often full, leaving homeless residents with no choice but to sleep in parks or other public spaces.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, Boise had one ordinance that made it a misdemeanor for any person to use any of the streets, sidewalks, parks or public places as a camping space. The city also had an ordinance that said sleeping in public places was "disorderly conduct."