The Florida Justice Institute (FJI), with West Palm Beach attorney Sabarish Neelakanta, filed a lawsuit against Palm Beach County seeking to invalidate a County ordinance that makes it a crime for people to solicit for charitable contributions or business along any road. The ordinance also criminalizes displaying information of any kind, and violations are punishable by up to 60 days in jail. In the last two years alone, over a hundred people have been arrested or cited for violating these ordinances—nearly all of them homeless people requesting donations. The suit seeks an immediate declaration that the law violates the First Amendment, and an injunction stopping enforcement of the ordinance.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the County repealed the Ordinance. The case was then settled for monetary damages and attorneys’ fees. This lawsuit will thus avoid hundreds of needless arrests in Palm Beach County.