Evidentiary hearing set for homeless-protection act

City of Miami asking federal judge to allow changes to Pottinger

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MIAMI - U.S. District Frederico A. Moreno scheduled an evidentiary hearing after the city of Miami argued its case for changing a landmark legal agreement that for 15 years has protected the homeless from harassment by police.

In the Pottinger v. Miami case, 5,000 homeless people and the ACLU of Florida sued the city, alleging that police practices of sweeping them off the streets was unconstitutional. The agreement bars police from arresting homeless people for doing "life-sustaining activity," which includes sleeping, eating, and sitting.

The city wants three changes: excluding the chronically homeless -- those who repeatedly refuse shelter -- and registered sex offenders from protection under Pottinger; making several modifications to the Agreement's Law Enforcement Protocol; and, expanding the territory of available shelters beyond city limits.

Moreno also denied a motion to strike affidavits filed by the city.

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