The suit, filed this week in federal court, says the city ordinance is applied excessively to young black men and should be deemed unconstitutional. Named as defendants are the city of Oakland and the Oakland Housing Authority Police Department. The entities that filed the lawsuit — including the East Bay Community Law Center and local ACLU division — submitted a stack of police reports as part of the complaint.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Oakland Public Housing Loitering Ordinance
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, in partnership with the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, East Bay Community Law Center, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and King & Spalding LLP, today filed a complaint in United States District Court, Northern District of California, challenging the constitutionality of the Oakland Public Housing loitering ordinance.
The supervisors ultimately moved all three forward when attorneys from the East Bay Community Law Center argued that ability-to-pay assessments were often inconsistent. Brandon Greene, a staff attorney for the center, said the measure is the culmination of two years of public records requests and meetings with county officials.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Bay Community Law Center attorneys, law students, and community partners advance legislation to end criminal justice fees in Alameda County
Tomorrow, the Alameda County Probation Department, Public Defenders Office, and the Sheriff’s Office will testify in front of the Public Protection Committee to urge the adoption of legislation that will eliminate criminal justice administration fees in Alameda County. The East Bay Community Law Center, a legal services provider serving low-income residents in Alameda County, along with the Policy Advocacy Clinic of U.C. Berkeley Law School, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Urban Strategies Council, have been actively advocating for the elimination of these fees.
But in a state ravaged by wildfires, where firefighters’ overtime costs are soaring and backup from Australia had to be called in to help fight the Carr Fire near Redding, advocates for the formerly incarcerated like Vinuta Naik, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, have a hard time understanding why firefighting agencies are turning away formerly incarcerated people with hands-on experience.
Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”