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Thu Nov 5, 2015, 01:01 AM

 

Small town invents new source of funds: overwhelm black homeowners with fines, avg 2 per household

A public interest law firm is suing in federal court in St. Louis to stop Pagedale from incessantly ticketing residents for things such as high grass, mismatched curtains and sagging pants — a lawsuit spurred by a Post-Dispatch article that highlighted the city’s practices.

The civil rights suit, filed on Wednesday by the Institute for Justice’s office in Washington state, is seeking class action status. The lead plaintiffs are Valarie Whitner and Vincent Blount, who were featured in the newspaper article after facing an onslaught of violation notices from the city for minor housing code offenses at their home on St. Charles Rock Road.

When Whitner and Blount couldn’t keep up with the repairs and fines, Pagedale officials threatened to demolish their home of nearly 20 years, while acknowledging it presented no public safety threat and was merely a nuisance.

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Thotably, Pagedale has focused its enforcement efforts on the types of code violations that are not regulated by the municipal court reform measure passed to rein in abusive ticketing. The newspaper found that the city had issued 2,255 citations for these types of nontraffic offenses last year — or nearly two per household. That’s a nearly 500 percent increase from five years ago, according to an analysis of state court data.

Residents can be ticketed for a long list of “violations” that anywhere else are considered life’s small pleasures — barbecuing in the front yard, for example, or having a beer within 150 feet of the grill.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/lawsuit-filed-against-pagedale-for-ticketing-high-grass-and-other/article_35fd1f5b-5a9b-5b21-97d3-dbaa927294d7.html

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http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/lawsuit-filed-against-pagedale-for-ticketing-high-grass-and-other/article_35fd1f5b-5a9b-5b21-97d3-dbaa927294d7.html

last year, the lawsuit said, 2,255 non-traffic tickets were doled out under the municipal code that authorizes citations for such things as having mismatched curtains, walking on the left side of a crosswalk, wearing saggy pants, having holes in window screens and having a barbecue in front of a house, according to the lawsuit.

"This case demonstrates that property rights are fundamentally civil rights," said William Mauer, the law firm's senior attorney and the plantiffs' lead counsel. "Pagedale treats its residents like walking, talking ATMs, making withdrawals by issuing tickets for ridiculous things that no city has a right to dictate."
An Associated Press message seeking comment from Pagedale Mayor Mary Louise Carter was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit comes four months after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law a measure that limits cities' ability to profit from traffic tickets and court fines. That marked the first significant step taken by state lawmakers to address concerns raised after the August 2014 police shooting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, who was black, was unarmed when he was shot to death by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during a confrontation in a street.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Federal-lawsuit-questions-St-Louis-suburb-s-fines-6610885.php

9 replies, 2160 views

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Reply Small town invents new source of funds: overwhelm black homeowners with fines, avg 2 per household (Original post)
Liberal_in_LA Nov 2015 OP
geomon666 Nov 2015 #1
Liberal_in_LA Nov 2015 #2
hunter Nov 2015 #3
Kalidurga Nov 2015 #4
Sherman A1 Nov 2015 #5
Etraker Nov 2015 #6
eridani Nov 2015 #7
newfie11 Nov 2015 #8
LarryNM Nov 2015 #9

Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 01:06 AM

1. Mismatched curtains?

Get the fuck out of here with that. They can wipe their asses with their tickets.

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Response to geomon666 (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 01:07 AM

2. And walking on the left side of sidewalk

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 01:10 AM

3. What kind of corrupt racist fascist dictatorship is this nation???



Where do all these little tin-badge Nazis come from?




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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 01:14 AM

4. Fines for saggy pants?

Now people really do need to look out for the fashion police? Now granted that is not a look that I like, but a fine is ridiculous.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 03:52 AM

5. Just like red light cameras

this is all about generating money for the city budget. Pagedale is a lower income area and really has no other source of income other than fines. So they use their police force as a revenue stream.

Some things such as high grass and general home upkeep do need to be addressed by a community and it's government, however there are ways to do this before they get into the realm of citations and fines.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 04:50 AM

6. It's going on all over the country.

 

Tax money on the local level is given away to friends of local government in the guise of public projects. To fund public services that are mandatory the same local leaders pass local laws and ordinances to pay for it.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 05:07 AM

7. This was a big issue in Ferguson as well n/t

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Thu Nov 5, 2015, 07:13 AM

8. Glad I live in the country

This is crazy!

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Original post)

Fri Nov 6, 2015, 03:05 AM

9. The One "Crime" in the US for which You Will Certainly Be Prosecuted

Not having enough money to obey some law.

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