Annapolis Will Not Appeal Federal Court's Rejection Of "Loitering While Black" Law in ACLU Challenge

Affiliate: ACLU of Maryland
April 26, 2001 12:00 am

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ANNAPOLIS, MD – The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland today commended the Annapolis City Council’s decision to not appeal the March 30, 2001 federal court ruling striking down the city’s loitering ordinance.

“”The City Council’s decision not to appeal is a victory for the Bill of Rights,”” said David Lubitz, an ACLU volunteer attorney and lead counsel in the case.

The City Council initially adopted the anti-loitering law by a 5 to 4 vote on October 11, 1999. That ordinance was denounced by opponents, including the NAACP, as a “”Loitering While Black”” law.

Nevertheless, the City Council established its first “”drug loitering free zone”” on February 14, 2000. Two days later, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance on behalf of the NAACP and three local residents. The City chose to suspend the ordinance until the lawsuit resolved its constitutionality.

In March 2000, the City Council amended its ordinance. However, on March 30, 2001, the United States District Court struck down the revised ordinance; finding that it violated citizens’ First Amendment rights and was unconstitutionally vague.

The City’s decision not to appeal the ordinance was part of a settlement that also resolved the ACLU’s claim for attorneys’ fees.

The firm for which David Lubitz works, Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP, has agreed to donate its share of the attorneys’ fees to support the work of the ACLU of Maryland.

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