University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Bell v. City of Boise CJ-ID-0002
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-00540-REB ( D. Idaho )
State/Territory Idaho
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Criminalization of poverty
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
In Boise, Idaho, anywhere from 2,000 to 4,500 people are homeless on any given night -- but area shelters only have beds for approximately 300 and overflow or cold-weather space for approximately 400 more to sleep on mats on the floor. The lack of shelter space has led to an increased number of ... read more >
In Boise, Idaho, anywhere from 2,000 to 4,500 people are homeless on any given night -- but area shelters only have beds for approximately 300 and overflow or cold-weather space for approximately 400 more to sleep on mats on the floor. The lack of shelter space has led to an increased number of homeless sleeping in public places including public parks, wooded areas and alleyways. Boise Municipal Code §9-10-02 prohibits camping on streets, in parks, or in public places at any time, and §6-01-05(A) prohibits sleeping in public as "disorderly conduct." Plaintiffs in this action are all homeless individuals who are, or have been residents of Boise and cited under these two Boise Municipal Code provisions.

On October 22, 2009, plaintiffs through their counsel, Idaho Legal Services and the National Center on Homelessness and Poverty, filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, against the City of Boise. The complaint alleged that the enforcement of this ordinance was targeted only to arrest the City's homeless, that these arrests are detrimental to the physical and mental wellbeing of plaintiffs and are specifically designed to criminalize homelessness and as such constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The complaint also argues that both the ordinances and the City's targeted implementation of those ordinances violate the Plaintiff's 8th amendment rights, are a violation of equal protection and due process and that the ordinances are both overbroad and void for vagueness on their face.

In response, the City sought and won a motion for summary disposition, entered by Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush on July 6, 2011. 834 F. Supp.2d 1103. Judge Bush held that Plaintiffs had not demonstrated that the ordinance as enforced criminalized homelessness; in addition, the claims had been mooted by subsequent clarifications of enforcement protocols by the Boise police as well as an amendment to the ordinance that provided a definition of camping.

Plaintiffs appealed and the case was reversed and remanded by the Ninth Circuit on March 7, 2013. 709 F.3d 890. In an opinion by Judge Susan Black, the Court of Appeals determined that the issue of criminalization under the Eighth Amendment was a question of fact (and therefore not appropriately decided on summary judgment) and that plaintiffs' claims had not been mooted by defendants' voluntary conduct.

On remand, plaintiffs filed a more detailed complaint and discovery proceeded. Plaintiffs filed for summary judgment in April 2015. On July 6, 2015, the United States filed a statement of interest, detailing its support of Plaintiffs' position. The parties disagreed about the appropriate legal framework; the United States endorsed plaintiffs' position that the court should follow Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2006), which held that enforcement of anti-camping ordinances may violate the Eighth Amendment on nights where there is inadequate shelter space available to accommodate all who are homeless. The United States government argued that the Court must consider whether conforming one's conduct to the ordinance is possible for people who are homeless.

The court has not yet adjudicated plaintiffs' summary judgment motion; the case is ongoing.

Sarah Prout - 08/25/2015


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Right to travel
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Placement in shelters
Poverty/homelessness
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) City of Boise
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are individuals who either are or have been homeless and living in Boise.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:09-cv-00540-REB (D. Idaho) 08/12/2015
CJ-ID-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Monetary Damages 10/22/2009
CJ-ID-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order 07/06/2011 (834 F.Supp.2d 1103) (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Appellate decision reversing and remanding order for summary disposition] 03/07/2013 (709 F.3d 890)
CJ-ID-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order on Defendants' Second Motion for Summary Judgment 01/27/2014 (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Decision and Order on Defendants' Motion to Strike and Dismiss Portions of the Second Amended Complaint 07/16/2014 (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Revised Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief 07/31/2014
CJ-ID-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [protective order] 01/06/2015 (D. Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 04/30/2015
CJ-ID-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States 07/06/2015
CJ-ID-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Black, Susan Harrell (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
CJ-ID-0002-0005
Bush, Ronald E. (D. Idaho) [Magistrate]
CJ-ID-0002-0002 | CJ-ID-0002-0003 | CJ-ID-0002-0007 | CJ-ID-0002-0008 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ahmed, Aziz (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Belodoff, Howard A. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Bendor, Catherine (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Cheng, Katherine M. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Copeland, Kysta (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Cunningham, Karen (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Donley, Greer B. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Gardner, Allen M. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Johnson, Heather (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Jones, Scott (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Levy, Daniel (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Maltas, Allyson (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
O'Malley, Kristi (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Ozdeger, Talin (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Rosen, Jeremy N. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Scheffler, Kristen (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Stark, Jared (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Sullivan, Marguerite M. (Virginia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Tars, Eric S. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0006 | CJ-ID-0002-0009 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Valentine, Rebecca (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0001 | CJ-ID-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bilyeu, Valencia J. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-9000
Fleming, Kelley (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-9000
Hall, Brady James (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-9000
Moore, Michael W. (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-9000
Muir, Scott (Idaho)
CJ-ID-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Bains, Chiraag (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Brett, Sharon (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Bullock, Robert B. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Foster, Lisa (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Jweied, Maha (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Kappelhoff, Mark (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Olson, Wendy (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
CJ-ID-0002-0004

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -