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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    12

    Default Panhandling, Lie-Sit, Sidewalk Within Shopping Center

    My question quasi involves civil rights in the State of: PA

    This question refers to homeless people and to a shopping center with each store having an outside entrance, not a "mall" meaning a building where walking store to store is still indoors.
    This doesn't really fit under real estate or criminal trespass cases. I'm putting it here since passive panhandling has been declared to be 1A, so it's almost sorta kinda related; though it doesn't really fit here either, or anywhere else.

    It is my understanding that a shopping center is not a "public space", as some private property can be.
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitu...-public-places
    The public is always invited, but only to shop, and so 1A does not apply to panhandling there. Correct?

    A store manager can forbid persons from entering their store. But can a mgr forbid any person from sitting on the sidewalk in front of their store? (Obstructing passersby or store customers is not involved. The doorway is never blocked. Aggressive panhandling is not involved.) I suppose this all would depend on whatever contract the store has with the shopping center owner... any speculation on what arrangement would be usual? Who controls the sidewalk?

    If a store manager does indeed have some say on this, wouldn't that probably only apply to the sidewalk that is immediately in front of that particular store, and not apply to the sidewalk area immediately in front of the adjacent store? E.g., the adjacent store might like the homeless person and welcome them to sit in front (yes, that happens).

    But still, there would seem to be a possibly big downside to the homeless person just moving a little bit further away. The store mgr might then ask the shopping center owner to call the police to "trespass" the homeless person, so that the person would then be forbidden from the entire shopping center. Has anyone heard of that actually happening at a shopping center? I'd imagine it's common at an enclosed mall.

    I realize that a store mgr could possibly call 911 and claim that disorderly conduct is somehow occurring. So that's another reason not to provoke the mgr. But then again, moving far over to untrafficked areas with empty stores is pointless.

    Btw, this is small town, not big city stuff.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Panhandling, Lie-Sit, Sidewalk Within Shopping Center

    The shopping center is likely private property even though it is open to the public. The owner or person in control (lessee) and their agents (security) are free to tell you to move along for any reason. Yes, if you do not leave when told you can be charged with various things from Disorderly Conduct to Criminal Trespass.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    750

    Default Re: Panhandling, Lie-Sit, Sidewalk Within Shopping Center

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    The shopping center is likely private property even though it is open to the public. The owner or person in control (lessee) and their agents (security) are free to tell you to move along for any reason. Yes, if you do not leave when told you can be charged with various things from Disorderly Conduct to Criminal Trespass.
    Just as the panhandler is free to tell the shop owner to move along.

    Problem would be that no one shop owner has authority over the whole property, so they cannot give the police authority to move the panhandler off the property.

    Also, I highly doubt that a rent-a-cop can tell anyone to move along for any reason. He's also free to tell anyone whatever he wants too, just as the panhandler is just as free.

    Ron, if you were an attorney, you'd be the opposite of a defense attorney.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Panhandling, Lie-Sit, Sidewalk Within Shopping Center

    Well, Harold, you are worse than defense attorney. Your so-called legal advice very much can get people in trouble.

    You're wrong is just about every thing you've said, as usual. The security guards acting as agents of the people in control have the authority. The store lessees very much can tell someone to move along unless there's some other person in control to disagree. The cops arn't going to poll the entire facility when they are called in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    750

    Default Re: Panhandling, Lie-Sit, Sidewalk Within Shopping Center

    Quote Quoting flyingron
    View Post
    Well, Harold, you are worse than defense attorney. Your so-called legal advice very much can get people in trouble.

    You're wrong is just about every thing you've said, as usual. The security guards acting as agents of the people in control have the authority. The store lessees very much can tell someone to move along unless there's some other person in control to disagree. The cops arn't going to poll the entire facility when they are called in.
    If you think a mall security guard in a golf cart has the legal authority to demand that the police remove anyone off the premises for any reason he chooses, you are very mistaken.

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