This morning a hearing was held before Judge David Carter on the plaintiffs’ motion to grant a temporary order restraining local governments from evicting or arresting homeless people on the bed of the Santa Ana River1 Last week, in anticipation of today’s hearing, Carter issued a temporary injunction which is set to expire at midnight tonight.
UPDATE: The Times (finally) got around to covering this development this afternoon. Here’s their story on the temporary restraining order.
I’m not really covering the lawsuit, filed on January 29, by the Orange County Catholic Worker and Carol Sobel’s law firm against Orange County for civil rights violations incurred against homeless human beings living on the bed of the Santa Ana River.1 You can read the initial complaint here to get an idea of what’s going on.
Yesterday afternoon the plaintiffs asked the County when they were going to start arresting people living on the riverbed and the County replied at 5:31 p.m. that arrests would begin today, February 7. Read the entire email exchange here:
Consequently, beginning tomorrow morning, OCSD personnel will begin advising people remaining on the District Santa Ana Riverbed property that they must vacate or may be cited and/or arrested for trespassing.
This prompted the plaintiffs to file an Emergency Request to Stay Arrests with the court. The metadata of that PDF suggests it was written at 5:59 yesterday, about half an hour after the County’s reply. There is a transcription after the break.
Recall that last month Judge Otero issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people in and/or around Skid Row without following required due process. Today the City filed a motion asking Otero to clarify what he meant. They also filed a proposed order for the Judge’s signature which, I imagine, is mostly of value here as it shows what the City wishes the injunction means.
Judge James Otero just today issued an order granting an injunction prohibiting the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people living on Skid Row without following a detailed procedure meant to protect their property rights. In order to grant this order, Otero had to find that the claims of the plaintiffs against the City were likely to succeed, and this he did. In particular, he analyzed the evidence that the City submitted in opposition to the request for a restraining order and stated unequivocally that “The counterevidence submitted by Defendants, including the videos, are at best inconclusive.” This strikes my (uninformed) eye as a fairly bad start to the City’s defense of this case, which is a fairly good omen for justice, fairness, and humanity in this City of Angels.