Bradford v. City of Tucson
In this case, a group of property owners filed suit against the city of Tucson, Arizona. They are seeking to label the unhoused people in Navajo Wash Park a public nuisance, and to compel the city to conduct sweeps and other law enforcement actions to “abate the nuisance.”
The Public Justice Debtors’ Prison Project, alongside the National Homelessness Law Center and local counsel at the Law Office of Paul Gattone, intervened on behalf of community organizations that serve the unhoused population in Tucson’s parks. Nuisance suits have been used across the country as a private end run around constitutional protections for unhoused people, who cannot be criminalized for sleeping or existing outside when no adequate alternative shelter is available, and who—like anyone else—have Fourth Amendment rights in their property.
We hope to use our intervention to prevent this emerging legal strategy from gaining steam. People are not a nuisance, and the solution to crowded encampments is safe housing and hygiene facilities, not unconstitutional sweeps.