Sarah McConahy, a formerly homeless youth, and John Hoff, an advocate for Seattle's homeless, were cited in 1994 for sitting on the sidewalk in the University District. McConahy was sitting with friends, eating and sometimes panhandling, and wearing a button that said: "Sitting is not a crime." Hoff was sitting reading a book with leaflets in his lap advertising a protest against the ordinance.
The two had separate municipal court trials. Each was found to have violated the sidewalk ordinance.
McConahy and Hoff joined together to appeal the decision, alleging that the ordinance violated the state constitution, including their rights to free speech and due process.
The 1994 ordinance bans sitting or lying on public sidewalks in commercial areas from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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