Victor Frost is a familiar person to many people who shop at Whole Foods market in downtown Palo Alto. He sits across Homer Avenue from the market with a sign asking people to give him money.
He also ran for a seat on the Palo Alto City Council last year.
But Frost is now facing charges that he violated Palo Alto's "sit-lie" ordinance six times in the last two and a half months, Police Acting Lt. Sandra Brown said.
Frost was in court Tuesday on the charges and will appear in court again in July. He pled not guilty to the charges and asked to have the court appoint a lawyer to defend him, which was granted, Brown said.
"There will probably be a full trial," Brown said, because Frost is contesting the charges.
Frost is asking for a dismissal of the charges because he believes the city's "sit-lie" ordinance prohibiting continual sitting or lying on downtown sidewalks is unconstitutional. It was passed by the City Council in 1997 after months of debate.
Now, Victor Frost may be the first test of the validity of the ordinance.
"It infringes on freedom of expression," Frost said Friday morning while sitting in his familiar spot across from Whole Foods market, holding a large sign asking for money for dinner.
Frost is also contesting the ordinance on what he said was "probable cause" reasons.
"I was doing nothing," he said. "I was just sitting here. There were no drugs, no alcohol and no weapons."
"This case isn't just about me," he added.