Monday, September 23, 2013
“The government may not take property like a thief in the night”
“the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments protect homeless persons from government seizure and summary destruction of their unabandoned, but momentarily unattended, personal property. Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, 693 F.3d 1022, 1024 (9th Cir. 2012).” –cited in de(Occupy) Honolulu case filed 9/19/2013
by Larry Geller
A second lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Honolulu by members of the (de)Occupy encampment against the City and County of Honolulu. This lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages and a preliminary injunction against the City’s application of “Bill 7” to seize plaintiffs’ property in raids on the encampment.
Several of the raids have taken place in the dead of night, no doubt running up taxpayers’ expenses for overtime in addition to the cost that Mayor Caldwell has already estimated for each raid (see: Mayor admits huge waste of money in homeless raids, 4/3/2013).
Perhaps with this in mind, the lawsuit also cites:
"as [the Ninth Circuit] has repeatedly made clear,' [t]he government may not take property like a thief in the night; rather, it must announce its intentions and give the property owner a chance to argue against the taking.'"
“Bill 7,” now Chapter 29, Article 19 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, allows objects or an undefined “collection” of objects to be seized without notice and held until a $200 fee is paid. Clearly, the homeless individuals against whom this ordinance was passed would be unlikely to be able to pay $200, and so the seizure is without recourse. The ordinance allows for a hearing to be held within 120 days, which plaintiffs hold is untimely and unconstitutional.
In addition to violations of the federal Constitution, the suit alleges breaches of the state constitution including
"mamala-hoe kanawai . . . Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety-shall be a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety."
A hearing on the motion for a TRO is set for 10/28/2013 at 02:45 PM before Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.
The documents below are OCR documents and may contain errors. Do not rely on these copies. If short of time, Document 6 may be a good one to start with.