Denver Decriminalizes Public Defecation To Make Life Easier For Migrants, Homeless

Making Denver Great Again?

Making Denver Great Again ... by allowing public defecation? 

That's the latest from the progressive city that seeks to ensure it "will not sacrifice" its "values or bend to a broken immigration system."

The Denver City Council voted Monday to approve major sentencing reform (in other words, making penalties more lenient) on Class I and II offenses. The latter cover crimes like public defecation, panhandling and camping out on the sidewalk. KUSA reports

City leaders and immigrant rights advocates argued the changes will protect Denver’s immigrant community from facing unintended consequences.

“Many times it becomes a deportable offense if you’ve been convicted of even a minor ordinance violation that’s punishable by a year in jail,” Mark Silverstein said, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.

Before the ordinance passed, all violations of Denver municipal code were punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $999.

The ordinance creates new sentencing categories that carry different penalties. Most municipal offenses (Class I) carry a maximum of 300 days in jail and up to a $999 fine. The “Class 2” offenses, however, have no fine and are considered "quality of life" offenses that mainly impact the homeless and migrants: 

Class 2 offenses typically yield no fine and carry a maximum 60-day jail sentence. The crimes include:  

Sitting or lying in the public right-of-way
Unauthorized camping on public or private property prohibited
Urinating or defecating in public
Panhandling
Curfews and closures
Storage and loading
Prohibitions
Solicitation on or near street or highway

"Usually the defendants are very poverty stricken, maybe even homeless," Mark Silverstein said. So that makes public defecation OK? 

I am sorry, but even a poverty stricken person is free to use a public restroom. In fact, many private businesses will even allow it. How many times have you gone to a Starbucks and seen a homeless person occupy one of the sofas? I can count at least ten times that I've witnessed it, right off the top of my head. 

If a person does not have the cognition to use a public facility, then he or she is likely under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or is mentally ill, and therefore should not be on the streets to begin with. 

Issues