Living in vehicles temporarily legal after federal judge's order

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A federal judge has ordered the San Diego Police Department to stop citing people for living in their vehicles.

The decision comes after a lawsuit was filed against the city by a group of homeless people and their advocates.

On Tuesday, United States District Judge Anthony Battaglia agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that the city’s municipal code was too vague in defining what constitutes habitation of a vehicle.

Tristia Bauman, an attorney with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty which helped work on the case told 10News, “we are very happy and pleased that the judge understood what we were arguing.”

However, that was only one half of the lawsuit. The other half targeted the city’s municipal ordinance that outlaws RV parking from 2-6a.m. 

Known as the Nighttime RV Ordinance, or Oversized Vehicle Ordinance (OVO), the judge denied the request to enjoin it, saying the same argument did not apply.

In the decision, Battaglia wrote “while the court sympathies that this Ordinance leaves Plaintiffs with nowhere to park between these hours and is decidedly unfair, the law is not ambiguous, unclear or vague in any way.”

A spokesperson for city attorney Mara Elliot declined to comment beyond saying they “will review the ruling and advise our client.”

An early neutral evaluation conference had been scheduled for Thursday with all the parties. Bauman said it could result in a settlement or go back to the court for a final ruling.

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