Newsbrief: Supreme Courts Again Says No to Cincinnati Drug Zone Ban Law 6/13/03

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The US Supreme Court rejected for the second time Monday a Cincinnati law that created a "drug exclusion zone" banning anyone convicted of certain drug offenses from the city's poor, black Over the Rhine neighborhood. The court rejected without comment an appeal by the city asking it to overturn a US appeals court ruling that found the ordinance an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of association and movement. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected the city's appeal of an Ohio Supreme Court ruling throwing out the law on similar state constitutional grounds.

The law was part of an aggressive push by Cincinnati's white city fathers against crime and drug dealing in Over the Rhine, a push that in the late 1990s led to more drug arrests in the neighborhood than there were residents and contributed to the anti-police riots that put the city in the national spotlight in April 2001. But even after being repeatedly rejected in the courts and seared by the riots, the city continued to try to revive the drug exclusion zone ordinance (

Now the ordinance should be dead once and for all. It has been effectively dead since 2000, when the city quit enforcing it after adverse court rulings, but between 1996 and 2000 more than 1,500 people were served exclusion orders. Among them were Patricia Johnson and Michael Au France, who challenged the law. Johnson, a grandmother, was barred for 90 days from Over the Rhine after being indicted (but never tried or convicted) on marijuana distribution charges. Au France, a homeless man with various drug-related convictions, was barred from Over the Rhine for four years, thereby depriving him of the ability to go to his attorney's office or seek shelter from social service organizations in the neighborhood.

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Issue #291, 6/13/03 Editorial: The Rule of Law | Global Social Forum Meeting in Cartagena to Draw Broad Spectrum of Global Activists for Colombia Focus -- DRCNet Will Be There | Anatomy of a Victory: How Reformers Rolled Back Souder and the Drug Czar | Ontario Marijuana Laws in the Twilight Zone | Jacksonville Hemp Fest Marred by Police Violence, Warrant Issued for Organizer for Obstructing (In)Justice | Drug Reform and the Democratic Presidential Nominating Process | Sad Day in the Medical Marijuana Movement: Medical Marijuana Patient and Activist Cheryl Miller Passes Away at 57 | DRCNet Urgently Needs Your Donations -- Sullum Book Offer Still Going | This Week in History | Newsbrief: European Union Presidency Calls for Frank Discussion of Drug Laws | Newsbrief: Demonstrations Mark Thailand Drug War Killings | Newsbrief: Oregon Medical Marijuana Provider Gets Prison Time | Newsbrief: Drug Czar Declares War on Summer | Newsbrief: Supreme Courts Again Says No to Cincinnati Drug Zone Ban Law | The Reformer's Calendar

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