Resource: Messina v. City of Fort Lauderdale

By: Florida Justice Institute

July 2, 2021

Florida Justice Institute

The Florida Justice Institute (FJI), in partnership with Fort Lauderdale lawyers Mara Shlackman and Frantz J. McLawrence, filed a lawsuit challenging a pair of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s anti-panhandling ordinances as an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. One ordinance prohibits requesting donations in all public parks, parking lots, and transportation centers; and within 15 feet of any sidewalk café, ATM, or entrance or exit to a commercial or governmental building. Another ordinance prohibits asking for donations or offering items for sale to people in cars along certain roads and prohibits this speech along all city roads if holding a sign. All of these actions are punishable by up to 60 days in jail.