Begging in Newport News, Commonwealth v. Holmes
Lisa Holmes was standing on a sidewalk near the entrance to the Patrick Henry Mall in Newport News holding a sign asking for money. As she was preparing to leave for the day, she was approached by police officers who asked if she had been begging. They then issued her a citation under a Newport News ordinance prohibiting all begging in the city. She was convicted in General District Court. We represent her in her appeal to Circuit Court, where on March 10, 2011 the Commonwealth's Attorney dismissed the begging charges against Holmes, apparently due to recognition that the ordinance is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Holmes was cited again for violating Newport News's street solicitation ordinance and was found guilty of that offense on March 22, 2011.