Grand Rapids ó Two men who successfully fought the stateís panhandling law after being arrested in Grand Rapids in 2011 for panhandling will each get $6,500 as part of a $48,000 settlement with the city.
The Grand Rapids Press, www.mlive.com/grand-rapids, reports the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented James Speet and Ernest Sims, gets the remaining $35,000 toward attorney fees.
In 2012, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that the law banning panhandling in public places violated First Amendment protections for free speech and the 14th Amendmentís equal protection clause. The decision was upheld by a federal appeals panel.
City attorney Catherine Mish confirmed terms of the recently approved settlement. She called it a difficult case. Thatís in part since the city had to defend a law it didnít put on the books.