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Hallelujah: Federal judge dismisses part of federal rights suit against St. Petersburg

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Federal Judge Steven Merryday has tossed out nine allegations in a federal lawsuit that accuses St. Petersburg of violating the rights of homeless people by enforcing a series of ordinances, scoring what appears to be a major victory for the city.

In addition to the dismissals Wednesday, Merryday this morning denied class action status for the lawsuit, meaning the scope of those making the allegations is limited to Anthony Catron, Charles Hargis, Michael Lile, Ferdinand Lupperger, Jo Anne Reynolds and William Shumate, a popular homeless leader in downtown St. Petersburg known for repairing bicycles.

Essentially, Merryday upheld the city’s right to arrest people for sleeping during the day in downtown public rights of way, storing personal property on public property, and getting banned from city property if they had committed crimes there before. Full story here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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