It looks like Miami residents and business owners calling on city government to fight to uphold a law banning panhandling downtown are in for a let-down.
In a memo issued Thursday to city commissioners and the mayor, assistant city attorney John A. Greco wrote that the city’s legal office does not intend to challenge an Aug. 3 decision by a panel of the 11th Circuit appellate division striking down the law, which levied fines and criminal charges for anyone caught street begging in the downtown business district.
The panel, ruling on a case brought by Andrew Toombs, arrested in 2015 for begging for change, said the law was unconstitutional because it dictated the content of what people can say on public streets and sidewalks. In issuing the ruling, Judge Miguel de la O referenced a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that has led courts across the country to strike down prohibitions on street begging.
The city, which continues to have a law against aggressive panhandling on its books, has 30 days to appeal. Greco asked city officials to respond by Monday if they have objections.