What is the Boise decision and how does it affect the homelessness issue in the city of Susanville?
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, in December 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a 9th Circuit Court decision that ruled “homeless people cannot be punished for sleeping outside on public property in the absence of adequate alternatives. People experiencing unsheltered homelessness — at least in the 9th Circuit — can sleep more safely without facing criminal punishment for simply trying to survive on the streets.”
According to the 9th Circuit’s decision, “as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter,” and, “the Eighth Amendment (‘Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted’) precludes the enforcement of a statute prohibiting sleeping outside against homeless individuals with no access to alternative shelter.”
The 9th Circuit district includes most of the Western United States — Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.