American Woman Denied Bail in Belize Pending Psychiatric Evaluation

Homeless American woman in Belize denied bail, awaits psychiatric evaluation, as US Supreme Court considers case on criminalizing homelessness.

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American Woman Denied Bail in Belize Pending Psychiatric Evaluation

American Woman Denied Bail in Belize Pending Psychiatric Evaluation

Adeola Lara Ade-Ekisola, a 38-year-old American woman living in Belize, remains in custody as she awaits further psychiatric evaluation after being denied bail. Ade-Ekisola, who claims to be homeless, was remanded to the Belize Central Prison pending a determination of her mental state before a plea can be taken for a common assault charge against her.

On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, Ade-Ekisola's mental state was questioned during her initial court appearance, leading to a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. A second psychiatric visit is required in two months to conclude the evaluation, and she must remain in prison during this time.

Ade-Ekisola was initially brought to court on February 20 for common assault against a female police officer, after allegedly throwing stones at the officer outside Precinct 1 Police Station on King Street. At her first appearance, Ade-Ekisola mentioned being a mother of three and living on the streets due to homelessness.

Why this matters: This case highlights the broader issue of homelessness in the U.S., which has risen sharply since 2022, with Black Americans and other racial minorities disproportionately affected. The criminalization of homelessness has roots in historical use of vagrancy and loitering laws against Black Americans.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a related case, City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, on April 22, which could significantly impact how cities respond to homelessness. The case began when a small city in Oregon with just one homeless shelter started enforcing a local anti-camping law against people sleeping in public, even if they had nowhere else to go. The court must now decide whether it is unconstitutional to punish homeless people for doing in public things that are necessary to survive, such as sleeping.

Cities across the U.S. have been increasing crackdowns on the homeless, and the Grants Pass case is part of a larger struggle over how far cities can go to discourage homeless people from residing within their borders and whether criminal sanctions for actions like sleeping in public are permissible.

Key Takeaways

  • Adeola Lara Ade-Ekisola, a homeless American in Belize, awaits psychiatric evaluation.
  • Ade-Ekisola was charged with common assault against a police officer in Belize.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on criminalizing homelessness in public.
  • Cities in the U.S. have been increasing crackdowns on the homeless population.
  • The outcome of Ade-Ekisola's case and the Supreme Court case may impact how homelessness is addressed.