Court Rules Homeless People Are Allowed to Have Stuff

Lost amid the uproar over other Supreme Court rulings this week was this: yesterday, SCOTUS let stand a lower court ruling that said that the city of LA cannot just confiscate and destroy the possessions of homeless people. Homeless people may legally have things, huzzah.

The LA Times reports that the case stemmed from a lawsuit brought by homeless residents of LA's skid row, who said that city workers and police came and seized "their personal possessions — including identification, medications, cellphones and toiletries," which they had left behind only temporarily.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the transients' possessions could be taken only if they posed an immediate threat to public health or were evidence of a crime...

The city, in a court filing, said homeless people defied cleaning schedules by leaving overflowing shopping carts and piles of possessions covered with tarps and blankets on the sidewalks, breeding vermin and bacteria.

The Supreme Court let that lower court ruling stand without comment, meaning that homeless people's stuff is legally protected from just being thrown away by the city. It may still be thrown away illegally by the city, or by cops, or stolen or destroyed by people on the street.

Now if only homeless people had homes.

[LAT. Photo: AP]