Palo Alto panhandler Victor Frost will face new charges in the city's continuing case against him for allegedly flouting the "sit-lie ordinance," according to the city attorney's office.
"We have decided to proceed on more recent citations in lieu of the originally filed charges," Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin told the Weekly Monday.
Original 2008 charges for Frost's longtime panhandling on Homer Avenue across from Whole Foods Market were dismissed Monday morning at the city's request by Judge Julie Emede of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. The charges were dropped primarily because of witness difficulties, Larkin said.
"Our two main witnesses are unavailable, but there are more recent cases pending on the sit-lie ordinance that will proceed on the same timeline as the original case," Larkin said in an e-mail.
The new infractions will be based on 2010 citations, based on complaints about his panhandling.
Larkin said the infractions will proceed far more quickly through the court than the misdemeanor charges because no jury trial will be involved.
From a legal perspective, there should be little difference in the outcome.
"We weren't going to send the guy to jail," he said.
Frost's attorney, Rod O'Connor, said because the new charges will be infractions rather than full misdemeanor citations Frost will not face a jury trial but a judge.
Frost was initially cited 12 times for his regular panhandling across from Whole Foods Market. The citations were reduced to six earlier this year
A jury deadlocked in April in a previous case against Frost on the same set of charges.
Frost and O'Connor have fought the city's ordinance and the citations on Constitutional grounds, but Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Lucy Koh declined to dismiss the citations because Frost had to stand trial and be sentenced before a Constitutional challenge could be made, she said.
Judge Koh has since been named to the U.S. District Court.
Frost was scheduled to stand trial Monday (Oct. 4).