Federal judge temporarily blocks city panhandling ban

DENVER — A federal district court judge today temporarily blocked enforcement of part of a Grand Junction ordinance aimed at limiting panhandling in the city.

U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer told some plaintiffs in the case, who were represented by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, that they had a “reasonable fear” that their First Amendment rights would be violated if the city were allowed to enforce a recently approved ordinance to stop “aggressive panhandling,” which is to go into effect on Sunday.

But that order applied only to part of the ordinance the city approved last month, the section that deals with panhandlers on city streets that also are state or federal highways.

The judge also ruled that other plaintiffs in the case had no standing to challenge other sections of the ordinance that further restricts panhandling elsewhere in the city.

ACLU attorney Mark Silverstein, however, said he was fine with that ruling because it means those “passive panhandlers” aren’t subject to the new law, and therefore city police won’t be able to ticket them or order them to move on.

Read more about this case in Saturday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel.


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