NEW ORLEANS – In a conference yesterday before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, the City of Slidell agreed not to enforce its requirement that panhandlers register with the police, pending the court’s ruling on the ordinance’s constitutionality. Based on that promise, the ACLU of Louisiana has agreed that its request for a preliminary injunction can be dismissed as moot.
“This is the best possible result at this stage in the lawsuit over the First Amendment rights of people in Slidell,” said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director. “Slidell officials are sworn to uphold the law, and they have agreed to do that and to respect the free speech rights of those in their community. Until the court issues a final ruling, no one need fear retaliation or arrest in Slidell for engaging in protected speech.”
The lawsuit, Blitch et al. v. City of Slidell et al., was filed on December 19, 2016 on behalf of panhandlers in Slidell, including an Army veteran. The plaintiffs are represented by ACLU of Louisiana Staff Attorney Bruce Hamilton, and cooperating attorney Ronald L. Wilson.