Letter to the Editor
Sedona, AZ –Despite attempting to gather concrete information from multiple sources on what the City of Sedona has done in response to Martin v. Boise, I have only found one City Council meeting on September 27, 2022 that addresses the relevant ordinance 9.10.010.
During the meeting, the issue is explained thoroughly, with many references to further discussion. Whether there has been further discussion or not, the ordinance remains unchanged and continues to be enforced.
I have spoken with several people who recently received a warning. After one warning, a person may be arrested.
Despite the Supreme Court’s establishment that it is unconstitutional to criminalize sleeping on public property when no local alternative exists for people without homes, the City of Sedona continues to violate citizens’ rights, quite knowingly, as the September 27 2022 City Council meeting demonstrates.
To circumvent the burden of proof needed for a criminal trial, a judge decreed that the sight of a vehicle in one place for more than 24 hours is sufficient for accusing a person of the 9.10.010 class 1 misdemeanor.
Although the Martin v. Boise ruling was made over four years ago, in 2018, Sedona has no plans to stop enforcing the ordinance. There are no plans to change the ordinance from ‘no sleeping’ to ‘no parking in one place for more than 24 hours.’
There are no plans to construct a shaded lot at the end of town for vehicle dwellers. Instead of choosing a solution, the city government continues to persecute citizens trying to exercise their right to live in peace.
The city government’s objective is to keep people who live in their vehicles out of Sedona because these people may act despicably and harm the community.
That is the supposed concern of the people enforcing an unconstitutional law violating citizens’ Eighth Amendment rights – the one against cruel and unusual punishment. That is the height of irony.