Daily Transcript Publishes Editorial on San Diego’s Homeless Population by USD Law Professor Laura Berend and Colleages

USD Professor of Law Laura Berend

San Diego (October 1, 2013)The San Diego Daily Transcript published an editorial titled "Larry Stirling's ideas on homeless are wrong, wrong" by University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Professor Laura Berend, Interfaith Shelter Network of San Diego Executive Director Rosemary Johnston, and Scott Dreher, one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs in Spencer v. City of San Diego.

Berend and her colleagues wrote the article in response to an August 14, 2013, editorial in the Daily Transcript titled “Our homeless policies are wrong, wrong,” written by former judge Larry Stirling. Stirling’s editorial claims San Diego’s homeless population is growing because the city is “too generous,” and that it’s time to turn off the spigot.

Berend, Johnston and Dreher systematically debunk Stirling’s most reckless claims against care and support for the homeless citizens of San Diego County, citing verifiable data from the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and a well-regarded nationwide report by the Lewin Group.

Dreher addressed Stirling’s confusion regarding Spencer v. City of San Diego. The case dealt with the simple fact that our United States and California constitutions forbid the police from issuing tickets to people for sleeping in public if those people have no other legal place to sleep. Both the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court have indicated in written opinions that doing so is illegal and unconstitutional. The settlement in the Spencer case prevents the police from issuing “sleeping tickets” to homeless people during the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. if there is no shelter space available.

The co-authors also reported on the ongoing successful efforts of organizations such as the Campaign to End Homelessness Downtown, the Connections Housing program in downtown San Diego, and United Way’s Project 25 Frequent User Initiative.

Read the full article at SDDT.com.

About Professor Berend

Laura Berend is a professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where she teaches in the areas of ethics, evidence advocacy, and criminal trial practice. She is a past president of the board of directors of the Defenders Organization of San Diego, past president of the San Diego Psych-Law Society, past president of the Criminal Defense Lawyers Club, and a former board member of the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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