We represent Schyla Pondexter-Moore, a community housing activist, who was banned from attending meetings of the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) for 60 days after she was ejected from a Housing Authority meeting in September for disrupting the meeting. Meetings of the DCHA are required by D.C. law to be open to the public.
On November 3, 2016, we sent a letter to D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Housing Authority Police Chief Joel Maupin, denouncing that order as unconstitutional and demanding that it be rescinded. In our view, the order was a prior restraint that violated her First Amendment rights and also violated her right to due process because it was issued without prior notice or opportunity to be heard.
A day later, the Housing Authority lifted the ban so that Ms. Pondexter-Moore could attend the Authority’s November 9, 2016, meeting, which was about the development of the Barry Farm housing complex.
We followed up in December 2016 with a letter asking DCHA to reform its process for issuing barring notices. As part of that request, we requested that DCHA include information regarding individuals’ right to due process in their Barring Notice form, to let people know that they have a right to challenge the barring notice issued to them.
In December 2017, we reached a settlement with DCHA to change their Barring Notice form. The new form informs barred individuals, as well as their friends and family who are DCHA residents, of their right to challenge and/or seek a temporary lift of the barring notice issued to them. DCHA also agreed to publish news about the updated form and the due process rights available to barred individuals in their monthly newsletter.