From the Boston Globe:

Homeless people arrested for trespassing on private property can challenge the criminal charges on the grounds they would face life-threatening danger if they stayed outside during harsh weather conditions, the state’s highest court ruled Thursday.

A unanimous Supreme Judicial Court ruled that homeless people can invoke the “necessity defense’’ in hopes of convincing a judge or jury to acquit them of criminal trespassing charges.

“Our law does not permit punishment of the homeless simply for being homeless,” Justice Geraldine S. Hines wrote in the decision. “The necessity defense allows a jury to consider the plight of a homeless person against any harms caused by a trespass before determining criminal responsibility.”

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