A team of McCarter pro bono lawyers, led by Stesha A. Emmanuel as co-counsel with ACLU-MA, secured a critical victory when the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts struck down a state statute that was being used to impose jail time and fines against people asking for financial support on public roads. Our clients, unhoused individuals, were repeatedly incarcerated under the law. The SJC held that the law at issue violated the free speech guarantees secured by federal and state constitutions and cannot be enforced.
McCarter and the ACLU of Massachusetts filed the lawsuit, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless v. Fall River, against the City of Fall River and others in March 2019, and was decided by the SJC on December 15, 2020.
McCarter’s work on issues of housing and homelessness spans the firm’s footprint, including challenging a similar New Jersey law in 2014, establishing a full-time attorney fellowship dedicated to serving tenants at risk of eviction in 2018, and collaborating with organizations such as the National Homelessness Law Center, amicus in this case, on multiple projects serving unhoused individuals.
Related media coverage includes the articles below:
The Boston Globe (Subscription Required)