Judge to Decide Constitutionality of Charlottesville Panhandling - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Judge to Decide Constitutionality of Charlottesville Panhandling Ban

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A federal judge is preparing to decide whether panhandling restrictions on Charlottesville’s downtown mall should be allowed. A hearing took place in the city Thursday morning. 

In 2010, Charlottesville banned panhandling within 50 feet of cross-streets on the mall, citing public safety concerns.

Attorneys representing two panhandlers claim the law infringes on free speech. Now a judge, who threw out this same case last year, will decide whether the law is constitutional.

“Hopefully he'll be more responsive now, particularly since he's been reversed and we have an opinion from the fourth circuit. But you know what? The fourth circuit isn't going anywhere either, and it won't end here if we lose,” said Jeffrey Forgel, ACLU cooperating attorney.

A ruling on Charlottesville’s panhandling ordinance is expected within the next several months. Attorneys say they will appeal if the law is not overturned.

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