Worcester’s panhandling fight costs an additional $475,000

Federal courts ruled the ordinances violated free speech

WWLP file photo

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The city of Worcester’s legal fight to defend its ban on panhandling has cost an additional $475,000.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that the city cut a check for that amount last week to attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union who successfully sued to overturn local ordinances against aggressive panhandling.

The payment was $45,000 less than a federal judge had ordered the city to pay in plaintiffs’ legal fees. City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. said the city negotiated the lower amount.

The city in January 2013 adopted two ordinances to control panhandling. One barred begging “in an aggressive manner” and prohibited soliciting within 20 feet of public places; a second prohibited panhandling from traffic islands and roads.

Federal courts ruled the ordinances were violations of constitutional free speech rights.

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Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com

 

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