Pro Bono News

Legal advocates warn against Burlington crackdown (VT)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Legal advocates warn against Burlington crackdown


"BURLINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid are warning city officials that an ordinance criminalizing “quality of life” violations could result in legal challenges.

The City Council approved a resolution on Aug. 28 that calls on its Ordinance Committee to draft a new ordinance that “creates a criminal penalty for repeat offenders” for civil infractions including public intoxication, public urination or littering.

The letter from the two legal groups says that instead of criminalizing minor violations, the city should expend more resources to address the “root causes” of such behavior, which they say are poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness..."

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