Panhandlers Sue City of Chicago

Jan 25, 2016

Credit JeremyA / Facebook via Creative Commons

A lawsuit brought by panhandlers who say they lose up to $10 a day because authorities bar them from a popular public square in Chicago is set to go to trial. The in Chicago federal court is a rare instance of jurors being asked to decide the issue of panhandlers' rights. The panhandlers say authorities violate their constitutional rights. The defendants include the Cook County Sheriff's Department, whose deputies help with Daley Plaza security. It argues the prohibition at the site outside an Illinois courthouse is justified, including on safety grounds. The lawsuit, filed in 2010, argues there's a free-speech right to ask for money. Plaintiff attorney Mark Weinberg says some people regard panhandlers, in his words, ``as aesthetic eyesores,'' so he says winning over jurors won't be easy.