BY ALLISON PELTZMAN
SPECIAL TO NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
NEWARK – The ACLU-NJ won a temporary injunction this week in Middlesex County Superior Court that prevents New Brunswick from enforcing two laws that make it illegal to beg. With pro bono attorneys from the firm McCarter & English, LLP, led by partner Gerard Brew, the ACLU-NJ brought the case on Dec. 19 on behalf of John Fleming, a homeless man who lives in New Brunswick and who had been cited and arrested under the laws, as well as on behalf of the New Jersey Coalition to End Homelessness.
Judge Frank Ciuffani expressed concerns about the ordinances’ constitutionality, and the City of New Brunswick asked to schedule the hearing in February to consider ways to amend the ordinances to align them with constitutional principles.
“We’re grateful that Judge Ciuffani understood the constitutional problems in banning begging in New Brunswick, and we’re grateful for the swift action taken today (Dec. 22) in suspending the laws,” said ACLU-NJ Deputy Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. “These ordinances target a particular kind of message. No one should be subjected to a fine for holding a sign or asking for spare change. Thankfully, for now, New Brunswick will have no authority to interfere in that form of speech.”