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Judge: Police can’t stop man from using sign to get donations

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A U.S. District Court judge barred Hawaii County police officers Friday from interfering with a homeless man’s attempts to use a sign to solicit donations in public.

Judge Susan Oki Mollway entered a temporary restraining order against Hawaii County that effectively affirms that plaintiff Justin Guy’s “Homeless Please Help” constitutes a lawful expression of free speech.

On June 3, Guy was cited for violating a county ordinance that prohibits panhandling in specified public areas. Officers had previously approached Guy as he stood on the side of Kaiwi Street in Kailua-Kona with his sign and directed him to leave the area.

The criminal charges against Guy were later dropped, but Guy pursued the temporary restraining order with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii Foundation, which provided legal representation in conjunction with the law firm of Davis Levin Livingston.

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