Administrative Searches and the 4th Amendment

Pertinacious Tom

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Administrative Searches and the 4th Amendment

Sorry to report that my libertarian elk are engaged in yet another assault on the American justice system.
 

In an alleged effort to root out slumlords, some cities treat renters as though they don't have any rights, forcing residents to allow government officials in for mandatory warrantless "inspections" to make sure homes are up to code.

The lawyers at the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm, have been trying to fight these inspections for years as unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment. This week they've filed a class-action complaint against the city of Seattle that attempts to put a stop to its inspection program.

According to their lawsuit, Seattle launched an inspection program in 2015 that requires landlords to register rental properties with the city. The city then randomly chooses 10 percent of the rental properties to inspect each year. This includes inhabited apartments and houses. The rental inspections are very thorough, allowing searches of the entire premises and therefore mandating that the people living there allow strangers in to look over their stuff.

In July, according to the lawsuit, a group of renters sharing a home wrote city officials telling them that they do not consent to a search of their property. The owner of the home also wrote to let the city know that she was respecting her tenants' wishes. The city responded that if the landlord refused to let the inspectors in, she faced penalties of $150 a day for the first 10 days, and then $500 a day afterward. Seattle did not even respond to the letter from the tenants.

The Institute for Justice is now representing both tenants and landlords in these cases to try to stop unwarranted inspections under the city's law, arguing that it violates the privacy provisions of the Washington Constitution.
Those whining renters just don't understand that warrantless searches for their own good should be welcomed. No wonder Seattle didn't reply to them. As for their slumlord, it's no wonder those evil libertarians at IJ would associate with that kind of scum, after seeing their association with the likes of Suzette Kelo and noted heroin dealer Tyson Timbs.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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I'd love it if something like this were tried here.

My target of choice would be my tenant who is a lawyer for the County. He's a really nice guy. I've seen what happens when you piss off really nice guys who have law degrees.

And I'm pretty sure that if something on the property he is renting is out of order, he'll again look where he should for the solution: to me. And if I fail, at the rate he's paying, I'd lose a good tenant because he has plenty of options.

On the other end of the spectrum, I went to look at a house in 2017 and was pretty appalled. It was summer, so storms every afternoon. And every afternoon, the rain came through the leaky roof. There's a lot of this. Landlords who just won't fix anything. The tenants seemed like nice people, doing their best to move and empty buckets in their house. I thought taking their money should be some kind of crime. And it's that kind of thinking that leads to laws like the one in Seattle.

I didn't buy the house.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Shootist Jeff said:
Those damn pesky constitutional rights!!!
Well, yes, and excesses of capitalism too.

I'm pretty sure those tenants in that leaky house had a contract saying they'd pay in exchange for housing. It looked to me like they were paying and the landlord was only sorta providing housing. So sorta breaking the contract. But unlike my lawyer-tenant, their options are pretty limited in terms of getting a real remedy for that apparent breach of contract. That's not what it says in the free market theory books.

The policy of registering every rental and inspecting 10% of them is ridiculous. In any rental market, you can identify the people with choices by the rent they're paying. Around here, the annual market for homes ranges from around 800/month to around 1,500/month. Hmmm... where might we find landlords who are neglecting maintenance to the point of breach of contract? Might it be the landlord who has a friggin' lawyer for the county paying near the top end? Or maybe we should look elsewhere?

Looking elsewhere leads quickly to: rich lawyers have fourth amendment rights and poor janitors don't.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Shootist Jeff said:
So are you saying that profiling is or is not OK?  I'm not really sure where you stand on this issue.  You sorta come off as these searches are unreasonable, but that it would be ok if the "inspections" were only being done on poor people so we could "help" them.  Can you be more clear?  Thanks.
Talking about the rationale for the rule isn't the same as agreeing with it.

The reason they're inspecting a random 10% is because no one, especially not loons like me who believe in fourth amendment rights for illegals, would go along with the proposition in my last sentence. I hope. BTW, some illegal immigrants are poor.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?

On Friday, the City Council passed Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods, abolish parking minimums for all new construction, and allow high-density buildings along transit corridors.

“Large swaths of our city are exclusively zoned for single-family homes, so unless you have the ability to build a very large home on a very large lot, you can’t live in the neighborhood,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told me this week. Single-family home zoning was devised as a legal way to keep black Americans and other minorities from moving into certain neighborhoods, and it still functions as an effective barrier today. Abolishing restrictive zoning, the mayor said, was part of a general consensus that the city ought to begin to mend the damage wrought in pursuit of segregation. Human diversity—which nearly everyone in this staunchly liberal city would say is a good thing—only goes as far as the housing stock.

 

BeSafe

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OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?
As I learned more about religion, one of my take-aways is how institutions of power protect themselves from those uncooperative followers who just can't seem to get with the program.  The obvious Judeo-Christian version is the money changers but it crops up here and there in most religions.

In modern society, we call the 'money changers' the 'zoning commission'.  One of the fundamental flaws in capitalism is that it works on a cyclic principle - you play a game, decide a winner, and start over.  But what happens when you can't start over and you lock in the results?   Welcome to the zoning commission :)   What happens if a particularly cooperative person - say someone with lots of money - shows up?  Like magic.. the zoning commission is your savior. 

We'll see how Minneapolis fairs but my guess is that the changes aren't so altruistic and have little to do with systemic racisim - there's some developer already in the pipeline.  

 
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Pertinacious Tom

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What happens if a particularly cooperative person - say someone with lots of money - shows up?  Like magic.. the zoning commission is your savior. 
That only sometimes works but sometimes there's a higher authority.

I inquired about getting zoning changed on a piece of property. The County zoning guy agreed with my reasons and said his office would have no problem with the change, but he also promised me that it would NEVER happen without an Act of God because it meant deviating from State govt requirements to change the boundaries of the Urban Services Area. There really are developers with more money than God who really want this done in communities around the state. For the most part, they can't get it done any more than I can. Act of God required.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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A Vermont Man Responds To Zoning Troubles

literalgiantmiddlefinger.jpg


:lol:

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Administrative Searches In NYC
 

When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business. But that’s exactly what happened. Attorneys for the city threatened Sung with eviction merely because a “stolen property” offense had happened at his business.

The city presented Sung with a choice: See his business shut down or sign an agreement giving up constitutional rights—including his Fourth Amendment right to be free from warrantless searches of his business. Faced with the imminent closure of his laundromat, Sung had no real choice but to sign.

In New York City today, this experience is all too common. Under New York City’s so-called nuisance eviction ordinance—more appropriately termed a “no-fault” eviction ordinance—residents and business owners can be evicted simply because their home or business was the site of a criminal offense.
That's obviously just a common sense law enforcement practice, but unfortunately my libertarian elk at the Institute for Justice, notorious for assaults on our legal system, are challenging it in court.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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This is weird.

Two major assaults on the American legal system by pesky libertarians and none of the wise people around here want to explain why libertarians are soooo very wrong to do this kind of thing?

 

Cal20sailor

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Shootist Jeff said:
I think it makes perfect sense that if I sell drugs on out on the far corner of your property while you're asleep that you should lose your house.  I mean, you should KNOW what's going on at all times 24/7.  
Nobody sells drugs, drugs sell themselves.  (credit to Chris Rock, Bring the Pain).  

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Shootist Jeff said:
I think it makes perfect sense that if I sell drugs on out on the far corner of your property while you're asleep that you should lose your house.  I mean, you should KNOW what's going on at all times 24/7.  
It's a bit worse than that.

The guy did know about the undercover operation going on at his business because the cops told him about it.

The analogy would be: cops tell me they're going to sell drugs on my property, do it, then take my property because of it.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Heh. I think you're missing the sarcasm.

It's actually not clear whether they told him about the sting operation. It's clear that it doesn't matter.






Sung came to America in 1981, and he opened his laundromat in 2008 in Inwood, near the northern tip of Manhattan. The business prospered, allowing Sung to put three kids through college.

Twice in 2013, undercover NYPD officers came to the laundromat and offered to sell stolen electronics. Both times, someone allegedly took the bait: The first purchaser was an individual totally unknown to Sung, and the second was a son of a friend. Neither Sung nor his employees were involved in any way.

Seven months passed after the second of these incidents, and then, without any warning, Sung found a brightly colored notice on the window of his laundromat informing him that he was the target of a no-fault eviction action. Sung had just days to prepare for a hearing—scheduled for Christmas Eve—where he would have to convince a judge that his business should not be closed.

Worse, when Sung finally found a lawyer willing to take the case on such short notice during the holiday season, he learned that innocence was no defense under the city’s ordinance. Sung could be evicted, and his business closed, simply because his business was the site of a crime. The identity of the criminals was beside the point.

City attorneys, however, made clear that so long as Sung signed an agreement waiving various constitutional rights, they would not shut down the laundromat. Under the agreement, Sung was forced to: (i) allow police to conduct warrantless searches of his business, (ii) provide police unfettered access to his video surveillance system, and (iii) consent to future fines and sanctions for alleged criminal offenses without any need for a hearing before a judge.

The agreement proposed by the city would waive not only Sung’s rights, but also the rights of other people. If Sung sold his business, the agreement would bind the new owners as well.

Despite the agreement’s onerous terms, Sung found he had no choice. Reluctantly, and only to save the laundromat, Sung agreed to sign.
The two other cases in the class action are a bit different in nature but are also outrageously outrageous. To evil libertarians.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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Shootist Jeff said:
 
So this was speculation and not actual fact??  Usually, things like that are preceded by "I suspect....."

Didn't sound like speculation.
But reading a bit further in my posts...

When undercover NYPD officers offered to sell stolen electronics to customers at Sung Cho’s laundromat, near the northern tip of Manhattan, Sung never imagined the sting operation could be used as a pretext to shut down his business
Two possibilities are suggested by this:

1. He never imagined that would happen because he did not know about the sting in his business and couldn't imagine things of which he was unaware.

2. He never imagined it because, despite his awareness of the sting, he had the faith in the goodness of government that leads people to look at cases like his and say stuff like:

Shootist Jeff said:
WOW!  How does this BS even make it to court??
And my suspicion is that it's 2. But anyone who followed links could see the full story for the context of that suspicion.

 

Pertinacious Tom

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OK, so the 4th amendment is obviously very boring.

How about zoning?
Also boring, it seems, but it's pretty funny to me that San Fran is forcing a guy to rebuild a historic home he tore down.

We have a Punta Gorda historic district that would react the same way. It's charming as hell unless you want to repair your old house.

The look of pre WWII FL Crackershacks apparently has historic significance. This is funny to me because I'm typing from one right now. My office was built in the 1930's as a home in Port Charlotte. In the 1980's a church bought the historic building with the intention of expanding their parking lot. They put up an ad saying, basically, "Anyone who wants a free house, please come and take it." My mom bit. So it was transported here instead of meeting the end of most of these historic buildings: a bulldozer.
 

...

This isn't the city's only conflict pitting new developments against a desire to stop anything from ever changing.

Working its way through the courts right now is a lawsuit filed by business owner Robert Tillman, who for years has been stopped from converting his laundromat into apartment complex partially on the grounds that the current laundromat is of historic significance.

...
Isn't "historic laundromat" oxymoronic? And other kinds of moronic?

 
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