Fining unhoused people for sleeping, camping is unconstitutional, Oregon District Court says

A order in class action lawsuit filed at the James A. Redden Federal Courthouse in Medford says fining people for living outside when they have nowhere else to go violates the U.S. Constitution.

It is unconstitutional to fine people experiencing homelessness for "engaging in unavoidable human acts" if they have nowhere else to go, according to a recent ruling in a federal lawsuit out of Grants Pass.

In the opinion issued by Oregon Magistrate Judge Mark Clarke on July 22, he wrote, "Arresting the homeless is almost never an adequate solution because, apart from the constitutional impediments, it is expensive, not rehabilitating, often a waste of limited public resources, and does nothing to serve those homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse addiction."