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Denver city councilwoman Candi CdeBaca to propose repealing camping ban

This comes after a Denver County Court judge ruled that the camping ban violated the Eighth Amendment.

DENVER — City councilwoman Candi CdeBaca said she intends to introduce legislation to repeal Denver’s camping ban, which a county court judge ruled essentially equates to cruel and unusual punishment.

Legislative staff briefly put CdeBaca’s proposal in the system Friday, but it was soon taken offline, according to CdeBaca’s Chief of Staff Lisa Calderon.

Calderon said the legislation was not supposed to be in the system yet, and that CdeBaca wants to continue her conversations with other councilors about what it would look like.

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Ultimately, it would require votes from six city councilors plus CdeBaca for the ban to be overturned – and that’s if Mayor Michael Hancock doesn’t veto the legislation. If that happens, it will require votes from nine city councilors. 

Last month, the Denver City Attorney’s Office said it planned to appeal the Denver County Court decision regarding the camping ordinance.

“We are still exploring our options and next steps, but it is important to remember that this is a narrow ruling on a criminal matter. The City will continue to enforce its ordinances, including those necessary to protect public health and safety,” a statement from the city attorney read.

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The Denver Police Department (DPD) has stopped enforcing the camping ban following the decision from Judge Johnny Barajas, but city officials have used other ordinances as justification for continued cleanups at homeless camps.

Barajas ruled that the camping ban violates the Eighth Amendment. He cited a ruling from a case out of Boise, Idaho. 

An appeals court said people who are homeless cannot face criminal penalties for sitting or sleeping on public property if a shelter cannot house them. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the Boise case, allowing the appeals court decision to stand.  

Last year, Denver voters rejected Proposition 300, which would have done away with the 2012 camping ban law.

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