Suit tossed: Panhandling rules are 'content-neutral'
Rejecting the claims of Albert Clatterbuck and four other would-be beggars, federal judge Norman Moon ruled Wednesday that Charlottesville's panhandling regulations are "content neutral" and therefore do not abridge any Constitutional right to free speech or equal protection. With the aid of attorney Jeffrey Fogel, the five men filed suit last June to overturn a City ordinance that banned begging near Downtown Mall intersections, at vendor stands, and from patrons of Mall cafés.
Borrowing language from the plaintiffs, Judge Moon, in his January 18 opinion, ruled "there is no question" that solicitation constitutes protected expression under the First Amendment. However, to their likely dismay, he also concluded that "the right to solicit is not absolute," as he ruled that Charlottesville's limits constitute classic restrictions of time, place, or manner that have been repeatedly upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Fogel says he'll attempt to reverse the decision.Attached Documents:Read more on: Panhandling