Illinois State Police and the DuPage County States Attorney’s Office today agreed to stop enforcing a state law prohibiting roadside panhandling in Illinois while a lawsuit challenging the law moves forward. Michael Dumiak and Christopher Simmons filed the lawsuit in August 2019. 
 
The Illinois State Police and the DuPage County State’s Attorney Office agreed to a preliminary injunction filed today by Judge Robert Gettleman in federal district court in Chicago. Under the injunction, they may not enforce a section of a state statute that bars asking for money from vehicles for the duration of the litigation. The ACLU of Illinois, the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), and the law firm of Schiff Hardin represent Mr. Dumiak and Mr. Simmons. 
 
“For now, our clients and many others will be able to exercise their First Amendment right to ask for help without interference from the State Police,” said Rebecca Glenberg of the ACLU, one of the lawyers in the case. “In the long term, we hope that the court agrees with us that this statute is unconstitutional and may not be enforced at all.” 
 
Dumiak and Simmons sued after they were punished for asking for help when they panhandled in suburban Downers Grove. The men stood on a raised median strip seeking donations from people in vehicles stopped at the intersection of Butterfield and Finley roads.
 
Mr. Dumiak and Mr. Simmons were charged under an Illinois statute that makes it a misdemeanor to stand on a median to solicit contributions, employment, business, or rides from passing vehicles. The statute does not prohibit other interactions with drivers and passengers, such as gathering petition signatures or distributing leaflets. It allows municipalities to exempt certain charities from the law, even as local police enforce it against individuals who ask for money for their own use.
 
A similar Downers Grove ordinance recently was rescinded shortly after the two men named the Village in their lawsuit. 
 
"Our clients were ticketed for panhandling when it was cold outside and they needed money to seek shelter. They were charged fines they couldn't be expected to pay, and one had to spend a night in jail because of a ticket. We hope this will prevent others from being prosecuted for asking for help," said CCH Community Lawyer Diane O'Connell.

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