Banning the homeless from sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to sleep is unconstitutional, argues the United States Department of Justice in a statement of interest filed regarding a Boise, Idaho court case about an anti-camping ordinance.
According to the DOJ, such ordinances may violet the US Constitution's Eighth Amendment, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. From the DOJ filing:
When adequate shelter space exists, individuals have a choice about whether or not to sleep in public. However, when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public. Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.
Yesterday, in Wilson County, Tennessee, Spencer Alan Boston, 20, was in court on a marijuana possession charge. Facing the judge, Boston made a comment supporting marijuana legalization, pulled a joint from his pocket, lit it, and took a puff. From News Channel 5: "One of the craziest things I've seen," says (Wilson County sheriff Robert) […]
In 1996, Benjamin Schreiber, 66, was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man with an axe handle. A few years later in the Iowa State Penitentiary, Schreiber suffered from septic poisoning, briefly died, and was resuscitated. So he argued to an Iowa appeals court that he has served his sentence and should be […]
On Monday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Travis Smaka pulled over a minivan in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane because nobody else was visible inside except for the driver. Turns out, the driver works for a funeral home and was transporting a body. From the Reno Gazette Journal: "He immediately tells me he's got the remains […]
One million Americans use American Sign Language as their primary means of communication. But as you'd expect, even though ASL is the sixth-most used language in the US, it isn't just any old language like English or Spanish or French. According to Communication Service for the Deaf, 98 percent of Deaf people don't receive education […]
After a successful round of funding on Kickstarter, Fluster: The Social Card Game is now ready to help turn a party or game night into the engaging, surprising, and enlightening social affair you always hoped it would be. A deck of 100 cards, Fluster is chock full of unusual, funny, and thought-provoking questions inspired to […]
Physics may have been that class you sleepwalked your way through in high school. But while it might have just slipped under your radar throughout your academic career, you probably shouldn't have given it such shallow attention. Sure, we could focus on the immediate pluses of a career as a physicist, like the more than […]