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OFFICIALS DON’T HAVE TO STAY AT SHELTER, COURT RULES

SHARE OFFICIALS DON’T HAVE TO STAY AT SHELTER, COURT RULES

Four city officials won't have to spend a night in an emergency housing office - but they might have to spend some time in jail or pay a fine, an appeals court has ruled.

The state Supreme Court's appellate division on Thursday unanimously overturned an order by Justice Helen Freedman, a trial-level judge.Freedman first ordered the four officials to pay families from $50 to $100 a night for each night they were not assigned to proper shelter after they applied for emergency housing.

Homeless families with children have for years spent nights sleeping in chairs and on floors and desks in filthy, inadequately staffed emergency assistance offices.

Freedman said the four were "most responsible" for the continuing violations.

When the officials failed to comply with the order, Freedman found them in comtempt of court and ordered them to spend a night in an emergency assistance office.

The appeals court said the only punishments Freedman could legally have imposed was jail time or fines.