Monday, April 22, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, September 28, 2012
Honolulu Homeless Law Not Affected by Court Ruling
By Robert Thomas @ 10:13 PM :: 6830 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12

More On The Ninth Circuit's Ruling That Homeless Have Property Rights, Too

by Robert Thomas, InverseCondemnation

Here's a follow up to our earlier brief post about the opinion in Lavan v. City of Los Angeles, No.11-56253 (Sep. 5, 2012), in which a 2-1 Ninth Circuit panel held that the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments protect the homeless against the City of L.A.'s seizure and destruction of their "momentarily unattended" property. The city undertook these efforts to clean up the "skid row" section of downtown.

Honolulu has an ordinance that has a similar purpose and design (to prevent the homeless from clogging up the parks and sidewalks with their "stuff"), but it is constructed quite differently. Instead of prohibiting property from being left unattended, it prohibits the "storage" of property in public spaces, with "storage" being defined as being left somewhere for more than 24 hours. Leave it unattended for more than that time, the city will scoop it up and store it at the owner's expense. One doubts that any of this stuff is ever retrieved.

Honolulu Civil Beat reported on the Ninth Circuit opinion, and asked whether it would impact Honolulu's ordinance:

But it’s unlikely that the decision will have a direct bearing on Honolulu’s "stored property" ordinance, according to local land use and property rights lawyer Robert Thomas.

Thomas cited "carefully crafted" nuances in the Honolulu law that effectively distinguish its policies from those deemed unconstitutional in the 9th Circuit case.

"It’s not directly applicable, it doesn’t make our ordinance illegal," he said in reference to the ruling. The ordinance "certainly seems to be shielded up a bit better. It gives the city more ability to address the problem."

One distinction is that the Honolulu ordinance requires the city to store the property upon seizing it. In Los Angeles, city officials would immediately destroy the belongings, said Thomas.


Still, Thomas — who supports the 9th Circuit decision — said the ruling could have a meaningful effect on how Honolulu officials choose to apply the ordinance.

"It does have a warning sign: You can’t treat people differently because they’re homeless," Thomas said. "The decision really does emphasize that we should think of property rights as civil rights."

Read the entire story here.

That last bit is the important lesson to be learned from Lavan. When a panel of Ninth Circuit judges rule in favor of property rights, with two classic "liberal" judges comprising the majority, you know you are onto something. We can only hope these judges would maintain the same respect for property rights in other cases.

Gideon Kanner adds his thoughts about the case here.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii