A San Francisco judge on Friday denied a city restraining order that would have prevented four people previously arrested for selling drugs from entering the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
Back in September 2020, prosecutor Dennis Herrera filed civil lawsuits against each of the defendants to prevent them from entering a 50-square-meter area to break the supply chain for addicts who congregate in the tenderloin.
Herrera had argued that the defendants are not local residents and are instead traveling from other Bay Area cities to sell drugs in downtown San Francisco, which contributed to the recent surge in overdose deaths.
In his ruling, Judge Ethan Schulman said current state laws “do not authorize the issuing of residence orders.”
Schulman added, “Even if such orders were approved by law, they would violate the defendants’ constitutional right to international travel.”
The defendants – Guadaloupe Aguilar-Benegas, Jarold Sanchez, Victor Zelaya and Christian Noel-Padilla – were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California.
“The city’s request that the court exclude injunctions that expel our clients from much of the city, regardless of the impact on them and their family members, is unprecedented and unconstitutional,” said Annie Decker, attorney for the ACLU , In a statement earlier this month. “The city should spend public money on services that support vulnerable communities with safe and supportive housing, mental health, harm reduction and other life-affirming services, rather than driving people further into poverty and despair.”
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