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Judge rules in favor of Big Island homeless man

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A federal judge is prohibiting Hawaii County from interfering with a homeless man using a sign while panhandling.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii says the ruling protects free speech. The ACLU filed a lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of Justin Guy, a homeless man who was cited by police for standing on a Kailua-Kona road holding a sign saying “Homeless Please Help.”

Charges against Justin Guy were eventually dropped. But his lawyers say the law remains on the books and is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Susan Mollway granted a temporary restraining order against the county Firday.

The county says the ordinance restricts aggressive or unsafe acts of solicitation while respecting First Amendment Rights.

A Jan. 21 court hearing will address the constitutionality of the county’s solicitation laws.

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