The ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit against the city of Joplin for violating the First Amendment rights of a man panhandling to survive.

In February 2018, Joplin amended its city code to unlawfully restrict panhandling by prohibiting it within 150 feet of certain intersections.

That same month, Christopher Snyder was issued an official warning by Joplin police for panhandling within 150 feet of an intersection the officer believed was covered by the ordinance. The officer told Snyder a second violation would result in a ticket, and a third violation would mean arrest. Later the same day, Snyder was again approached near another intersection and told that panhandling was not permitted in the city. Fearing an arrest, he and his wife left Joplin.

The city eventually repealed the ordinance and the case was settled. 


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Anthony E. Rothert, Jessie Steffan, Gillian R. Wilcox

Date filed

April 26, 2018


Missouri Western District Court, Southwestern Division



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