PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A federal judge has blocked enforcement of Parkersburg's ban on panhandling pending a trial of a lawsuit challenging its legality.
U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the ordinance on Wednesday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia sued the city in September on behalf of Charles Kelly, a disabled veteran. Kelly had been cited and fined under the ordinance for soliciting charitable donations in public places.
The ordinance prohibits soliciting charitable donations on public sidewalks and pedestrian walkways.
Goodwin's order was expected by Mayor Bob Newell.
Newell tells the Parkersburg News and Sentinel ((http://bit.ly/17td5Dd ) that the ordinance's intent was safety, not to discourage panhandlers. But he says it targets money and ignores other forms of solicitation.