U.S. District Court Judge Carter Faces Historic Decision on Homeless

In March 2020 a coalition of downtown businesses and homeowners filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Los Angeles, arguing that conditions on the streets of Los Angeles are inhumane, and tax money spent on homeless response has been wasted. After a year of hearings without substantial progress, on March 4, 2021, the coalition submitted a notice of intent with the court to file a Preliminary Injunction, which would require thousands of new beds in the coming months to be immediately paired with available public spaces.

It is possible that the judge on the case, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who is an outspoken critic of how the City and County have handled the homeless crisis, will proceed with the injunction. This could happen any day. If Judge Carter issues the injunction, it would be the first step towards placing the City and County into a court-supervised receivership to more decisively address homeless issues.

Receivership is not a new concept, and has been invoked in California previously. In 2005, Federal District Judge Thelton Henderson put the California state prison health care system into receivership. After months of consent decrees, hearings, expert testimony and negotiation, Judge Henderson commented on the California prison health care system’s “depravity” and ruled that it violated the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Judge Henderson stated, “The Court is simply at the end of the road with nowhere else to turn. Indeed, it […] Read More