High Court OK’s Richmond Housing Trespasser Ban

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The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to invalidate a Richmond, Va., Redevelopment and Housing Authority trespassing policy aimed at keeping undesirables out of city housing projects, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Kevin Lamont Hicks, convicted three times, failed to show that the policy violated the Constitution’s First Amendment, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for a unanimous court.

Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore said the high court had “made it clear that trespass policies like [Richmond’s] will not be struck down as overbroad so long as they do not target speech.” The Virginia Supreme Court ruled last year that the policy was so broad it might affect the First Amendment rights of others, even though Hicks could not contend his First Amendment rights were involved.

The city deeded the streets and sidewalks in the complexes to the housing authority in 1997 in an effort to reduce drug-related crime in public-housing projects. The authority warned that anybody caught on the streets would be charged with trespassing unless he or she could show a legitimate social or business purpose for visiting the property.

Link: http://www.timesdispatch.com/frontpage/MGB3U7W81HD.html

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