Criminalizing the Sidewalk

Why the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Should Take Action to Reform the Unjust Treatment of Low-Income Sidewalk Vendors 

PREPARED BY UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW'S CRIMINAL DEFENSE CLINIC

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE

Sidewalk vendors in Los Angeles live on subsistence wages earned from an honest days work. Yet, they are subject to vigorous police harassment, constant ticketing, onerous criminal justice debt, bench warrants for failures to appear, arrests, and incarceration. This Report, authored by the UCLA School of Laws clinical students and joined by a coalition of advocates and nonprofit organizations working on related issues, requests that the Los Angeles City Attorneys Office rethink this punitive treatment of vendors. Specifically, we recommend that the City Attorney implement the following five Key Reforms:

Key Reform 1: Cease all sidewalk vending prosecutions charged pursuant to Section 42.00 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code until the city has adopted new legislation to legalize and regulate vending.

Key Reform 2: Dismiss all pending sidewalk vending cases and bench warrants for failures to appear associated with those cases.

Key Reform 3: Offer a special four-hour-per-conviction community service program for vendors with criminal justice debt from past Section 42.00 convictions.

Key Reform 4: Work with the Los Angeles Police Department to draft and implement a property seizure protocol for sidewalk vendors that complies with the Fourth Amendment and Due Process.

Key Reform 5: Collaborate with community stakeholders to develop a city-wide regime for legal and regulated sidewalk vending. 

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