Feed the Homeless: Face the Judge ???

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http://www.profamilylegalcenter.com/news/newsletter/

I’ve had a tough time myself over the last year and a half or so, and then I am reminded of the basic things in life. All struggles are temporary, but we should not interfere with the goodness that comes into our own lives or those of others. Some people might call my client a guardian angel, some might say he brings good karma to others, or some might just say that he’s a good guy.

Please pass on some positive prayers and thoughts of support for my client Mr. John Atkins.  John has been trying to help the homeless for many years now.  He picks up a few loaves of bread or other food and shares with a few people at a park near his home in Corona.  We had to ask the City of Corona to lay off a couple of years ago and it looked like they were going to leave the issue alone.  Not so.

I have linked a copy of the letter I had to send along with a copy of the citation issued to John.  He’s an older gentleman and this is causing him a lot of stress and he has had very serious heart problems in the past.  He does not want to stop helping those in need and I can’t really find it in myself to tell him to stop.  The story from some time ago can be found at http://www.pe.com/localnews/rivcounty/stories/PE_News_Local_W_ticket06.229f9da.html .  The government has threatened to impound his vehicle and to actually jail him. The statutes being relied on have nothing to do with providing a small amount of food to others, even on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, John has been charged with a misdemeanor for “operating a food facility” without a permit.  (Letter to County and Copy of Citations).  He has been charged by both the County of Riverside and the City of Corona, who were waiting for him a couple of Sundays ago.  He showed up with a few pieces of chicken to share with those he cares about.  The reality is that anyone of us taking a BBQ meal to the park for a birthday party could be cited for this same alleged violation.

I am hoping to resolve this peacefully, but likely have to file a lawsuit so that John can exercise his basic right to associate with those he cares about and for his right to help others.  While this might seem basic, that’s just the point.  Anyway, John’s criminal appearance in Court is set for October 21, 2010.  I would like to file a motion to dismiss the case and do what I can to protect his rights so that this does not happen again in the future.

I would ask that you take a few minutes to uplift John and his faithful adherence to Matthew 25 (should this be something that appeals to you personally).  John is not a self-professing Christian or loud mouth — in fact, he just lives out what he believes (caring for the homeless and bringing happiness to those he may not even know).  I think this is something we can all appreciate. We need to enable the good will that he demonstrates.

We will have to raise a little money for his case in order to pay for court costs and related items.  Any help would be appreciated as well.  If you can help, please feel free to send a few bucks to www.profamilylegalcenter.com for the John Atkins case.  Any help is tax-deductible.  If we are able to resolve his case, then any help will be used for similar cases in which I serve as counsel. This one just really bugs me.

No matter what, just your thoughts, moral support, and prayers for him are greatly appreciated. Thanks for the time you took to think about the homeless and those who help them through things none of us would want to imagine going through.

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