Friday, October 18, 2013

Homeless sue Hamilton County

   Antonio Wilson, Gary Hudson, Shafter Jinks, and Brandon Booker – four homeless men who are among those sleeping in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse and Justice Center – have filed suit in U.S. Southern Ohio District Court against Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil after officials for more than a month have said those spaces will no longer allowed to be de facto homeless camps, citing potential public health concerns from the messes that are left and have to be cleaned up each day.

 “People should not be threatened with arrest and removal for being homeless,” Josh Spring, Director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, told last Tuesday.  “After 30 years of different people finding relative safety sleeping in front of the courthouse and justice center and weeks of successful collaboration to find long-lasting solutions, Sheriff Jim Neil, is unwilling to give enough time for full success and has threatened arrest.”

  “Among the claims,” the article says, are the homeless’ having a right to remain ‘free from cruel and unusual punishment, including the right not to be criminally punished’ for being homeless, and  includes Sheriff Neil’s posting “no trespass” signs on the exterior plazas of the Hamilton County Courthouse and the Hamilton County Justice Center, two quintessential and traditional public forums that cannot be closed to the public, and then threatening to arrest any individuals who sleep or otherwise seek repose on the steps, benches, and sidewalks surrounding these facilities.”

Southern District filings

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