City avoids its day in court 

The city has dropped its panhandling case against Henry L. Coulter, the homeless man who -- in exchange for change -- helps people park in the vast public lot under I-4 near Church Street downtown `"City guards its million-dollar lot," Feb. 19`.

Prosecutor Ken Hebert says he realized he'd need witnesses. When he encountered problems getting them, he backed off.

Coulter remains in jail on a robbery charge. But in dropping the case, Hebert -- who insists the city is confident that its law banning panhandling in the lot and elsewhere would withstand a constitutional challenge -- avoided having to prove so in court.

Apparently Coulter was the first panhandler willing to fight the city; absent a charge, he no longer has a fight.

More by Lawrence Budd


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