The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear Boise's defense of its policy of sometimes prosecuting homeless people for sleeping in public after a lower court found ordinances in Idaho's capital violated the U.S. Constitution's bar on cruel and unusual punishment.

The justices left in place a 2018 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that fining or jailing homeless people for staying outside or in unauthorized places if a bed at an emergency shelter is not available is unconstitutional. The city had appealed that ruling, arguing that the decision threatened public health and safety.

U.S. cities have struggled over the years with how to address the issue of homelessness, putting in place various local laws.