Appeals Court Rules Against Redondo Beach Stings

Kristin S. Agostoni, Daily Breeze (Redondo Beach, Cal.), May 18

A federal appeals court panel has upheld a ruling barring Redondo Beach from using its solicitation ordinance to prevent day laborers from seeking work along city streets.

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Although Goddard said city officials continue to receive complaints from residents about day laborers congregating near a strip mall at Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Inglewood Avenue, he argued “the city has no enforcement mechanism that can be used to move the group from that location.”

“The No. 1 problem is the traffic hazard,” Goddard said. “The No. 2 problem is the intimidating effect it has on (shoppers).”

Redondo Beach’s controversy over the workers began in October when, prompted by complaints from residents and business owners, police officials conducted a series of undercover sweeps. Dozens of laborers were arrested after they hopped into plainclothes officers’ cars believing they were getting work.

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MALDEF attorneys applauded the judges’ decision Monday, saying it reinforced their beliefs that the city’s solicitation ordinance was unjustly applied to the laborers.

“They can still solicit work,” MALDEF attorney Shaheena Ahmad Simons said. “And it’s also a victory in the fact that the 9th Circuit rejected the city’s arguments.”

In a statement, MALDEF attorney Thomas A. Saenz said “it is difficult to see how any city can justify continuing to spend public dollars to defend a law with such an abysmal record in legal challenges.”

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