The Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a landmark case that could change Seattle’s use of homeless parking violations.
If the judges ruled in favor of Stephen Long, in whose truck he lived in the confiscated Seattle, cities beyond Washington could have to stop towing cars and vehicles living there if they were not dangerous.
It could affect about 2,800 people living in Kingdoms vehicles. According to the latest census of the homeless, they make up almost a quarter of the total homeless population – although the estimate of people living in vehicles is not much more accurate than in shelters.
It is not clear when the Supreme Court will make a decision. The state Court of Appeals last year gave six months to rule on Long’s case.
Long was living in his 2000 GMC pickup truck in 2016 when he returned from work at CenturyLink Field and found that his truck was no more. Four days ago, police warned him that he was violating city rules that vehicles parked on public streets must move every 72 hours. However, his truck was unable to move due to mechanical problems, according to Long’s lawyers.
In 2018, a King County Supreme Court judge ruled that the city was violating the state’s Homestead Law, a time-bound law that protects homes from forced sale by seizing a truck. The judge said the $ 557 owed to the city for a long time when the traction violated Article 8 of the US Constitution, which protects against excessive fines. The city appealed, տարի last year the Washington Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Homestead Act, but annulled constitutional judgment.
And Long, “the city afterwards,” appealed, and on Tuesday, Supreme Court justices heard the arguments of Long’s Seattle attorneys to decide whether to overturn the appellate court’s decision or leave it.
Long’s lawyers argued that the seizure of his truck was illegal and had a greater impact on him than dragging someone with more money. Long’s sleeping bag գործիք the tools needed for work were found in the truck, և the confiscation forced him to sleep on the ground for 21 days in the same place where his truck was, և according to his lawyers, he fell ill during that time.
“Since 1205 Magna Carta says: You need to consider what the person’s personal property will carry, ”said Arn my Lobens, a Carney Badley Spellman attorney. “You do not treat billionaires the same way you treat Stephen Long.”
Robert Mitchell, a Seattle lawyer, said police had warned him a few days before the drag that the magistrate was working with him on a payment plan so he could bring his truck back, that Long’s decision was hampering the cities’s state. from trying to remove empty vehicles, because they must first understand that someone lives in each.
“Homelessness is a very serious problem,” Mitchell said. “The city is devoting huge resources to this work. It is not appropriate to distort the law, so that the judge in this case gave it to Mr. Long to provide further mitigation, it will lead to serious undesirable consequences. “
Due to the epidemic, the city stopped the 72-hour limit violated by Long, the founder of the city-funded Scofflaw mitigation team, one of several groups focused specifically on helping people living in cars.
For months, Kirlin-Hackett warned that when the law went into effect, Seattle would be flooded again from RVs to tents and sidewalks, which had already seen an unstable rise in the camp.
“Everyone here continues to ignore the real issue, which is that we had laws that worked well before we had a car seat,” Kirlin-Hackett said. “Our law is just used as a hammer. That’s heartbreaking. “