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UPDATE: Homeless sleeping in vehicles on SLO streets can't be ticketed, judge says

A line of cars on Prado Road, where many homeless gathered to live and sleep in their vehicles.
A line of cars on Prado Road, where many homeless gathered to live and sleep in their vehicles. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

UPDATE:Attorney Stewart Jenkins, who represents the SLO Homeless Alliance and those targeted by the recent enforcement, said he was “ecstatic” at the ruling.

“This is perfect for Independence Day and it is the constitution at its best,” said Jenkins.

City Attorney Christine Dietrick called the ruling “extraordinary and unprecedented” by inferring that the City Council “did not mean whatit said,” when adopting the ordinance that prohibits people from sleeping in their vehicles.

The city, she said, disagrees with the legal conclusions and factual assertions used in the ruling. “Of greatest concern are the adverse health and safety impacts from the illegal residential occupancies of the court’s ruling now allows on public streets,” Dietrick said in a statement.

A case management conference is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. July 24.

ORIGINAL: San Luis Obispo police officers can no longer issue tickets to homeless people for sleeping in their vehicles on public streets, according to a preliminary injunction issued by Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall today.

The ruling is the result of a lawsuit, filed by attorneys Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins in San Luis Obispo Superior Court, alleging that the law prohibiting people from sleeping in their vehicles is unconstitutional, vague and results in arbitrary enforcement.

Crandall’s ruling found that law to not apply to public streets and ordered to suspend further enforcement of it until a full court hearing can be held on the case.

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