A Florida man who deliberately defied an Orlando ordinance which prohibits feeding the city's homeless will become the first person to face trial for the offence when he's hauled before a judge and jury. [more]


I hope he gets out of this and sues and ends up extracting every dime!

This is the age we live in, when helping someone out becomes illegal. The prosecutor should feel ashamed of himself, trying to put someone in prison for an act of charity.

From what it looks like he did knowingly break the law though. Plus its not feeding the homeless that they have made illegal its feeding a mass of people in one place that he is being taken to court for.

maybe the prosecuter is taking it to court as a test case to see if the law can be declared unconstitutional.

sounds to me like there would have to be a reason why they did not want large gatherings like that and this guy disagreed and deliberately disobeyed the law

It's probably related to something like hanging a sign on your front lawn saying,

Free Food!

Crackheads welcome, no questions asked.

If you're comfortable with that, then ask the guy down the street if he's kosher with it. Don't start with his yard.

> its feeding a mass of people in one place that he is being taken to court for.
Does that include restaurants?
What about roadside hotdog stands?

Just following the story a bit more...

Orlando Bans Feeding Homeless Downtown

Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 1:55 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. -- City officials have banned charitable groups from feeding homeless people in parks downtown, arguing that transients who gather for weekly meals create safety and sanitary problems for businesses.

The measure, approved Monday, prevents serving large groups in parks and other public property within two miles of City Hall without a permit. The American Civil Liberties Union vowed to sue, saying it's a superficial fix that ignores the city's homeless problem.

City commissioner Patty Sheehan pushed for the ordinance after complaints from business owners and residents that homeless people were causing problems at a downtown park popular with joggers and dog walkers.

Another City Bans Feeding Homeless in Parks: Orlando, Florida

The ordinance, passed on Monday, specifically bans regular feeding stations in parks within a 2-mile (3.2-km) radius of Orlando City Hall, where the city is undergoing a renaissance of new condominiums, office buildings and university campuses.

Simon said challenges to similar ordinances in places like Las Vegas had been most successful when focused on religious rights.

In a statement on Friday, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, "The city's approval of this ordinance is not about whether or not to feed the homeless but instead where."

Dyer noted the city had set up tables, benches and portable toilets in a vacant lot a couple of blocks away from Orlando's Lake Eola Park specifically for homeless feeding stations. The lot is within 2 miles of City Hall but outside the banned park area itself.

Man not guilty in homeless feeding case

In the first test of Orlando's controversial ban on feeding groups in public parks, a jury Tuesday found 22 year-old Eric Montanez not guilty of the misdemeanor charge against him.

After the verdict, Orange County Judge Steve Jewett praised Montanez for the "important" volunteer work he does feeding the homeless at Lake Eola Park, but cautioned: "you do have to obey the law."

I applaud anyone who is caring enough to feed and help those that cannot help themselves. The fat cats that dont want to admit they dont care about others should be the ones taken to court. So they are "refurbishing" this area - they want to hide the city's problems I find it interesting that they make the law so that it canot be done within so many miles of city hall. So if a family reunion was to be held in the park would that also be illegal. I know if all my family members got together it would be a very large crowd.

I'm glad to hear it turned out all right for Montanez. Maybe the decision will set a precedence that the law is rubbish.

>>The American Civil Liberties Union vowed to sue, saying it's a superficial fix that ignores the city's homeless problem
I normally don't like the ACLU but in this case I think everyone in the world will support them.

Thanks for the follow up Dave! There is sanity left, even in big cities.

Everytime I walk through the city park, I end up with dog product on my shoes. Now there is something to take to the judge!