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  1. #1
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Woman, Jailed and Fined For Being Unable to Repair House, is Freed

    Lady cannot repair her house to meet code, and when she and her husband tried to fix the fence themselves, the city ticketed her for repairing the fence without a building permit.

    I cannot BELIEVE this is happening in Texas - Sounds more like the Code Natzis in Boston. Why doesn't the city go bulldoze a drug house or something and leave this lady alone? Except for the paint, it doesn't look much worse than hundreds of others I've seen.


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    Woman Jailed For Code Violations Freed

    POSTED: 5:04 pm CST March 2, 2006
    UPDATED: 8:13 pm CST March 2, 2006

    RICHARDSON, Texas -- Mary Collard walked out of jail Thursday after spending 16 days behind bars for failing to comply with city codes and declining to respond to city citations. Collard, however, is not out of trouble.

    Collard was jailed because the city of Richardson cited her 101 times because the condition of her home fails to comply with municipal codes. The city maintains that her house needs paint, the fence is deteriorated and a portion of the fence was built without a permit. She also was jailed because during a preliminary hearing, she would not confirm to a judge she would return to court for a trail.

    Collard said the city does not have the right to tell her how to maintain her home. She also said that health and financial problems have prevented her from paying for repairs.

    The city first cited Collard in 2003. She and her husband ignored the citations and warrants, and she was jailed Feb. 14 after a traffic stop.

    Collard still faces a $20,000 fine imposed by a jury. City officials said they would help Collard mitigate remaining legal problems.

    "We just want Ms. Collard to know that we are here and willing to work with her to resolve the issues at her home in any way that she sees best," Don Magner, of the city of Richardson, said.

    Collard said she and her husband would attempt to comply with the city.
    "We have 30 days to get it fixed," she said. "I'm trying" to meet the deadline.

    The city likely would pursue the $20,000 fine if the Collards fail to make the required repairs within the 30-day deadline, according to an NBC 5 report. If the Collards meet the deadline and make the repairs, the city likely would be reduce or waive the fine.

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    Last edited by TXCharlie; 03-03-06 at 11:51 AM.

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  2. #2
    WAMBAUGHREADER's Avatar
    WAMBAUGHREADER is offline Fattest, cop, ever.
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    Ill bet theres more to it than whats here.
    Do you want me to get naked and start the revolution?

  3. #3
    Virginian's Avatar
    Virginian is offline Major
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    This

    declining to respond to city citations
    and this

    she would not confirm to a judge she would return to court for a trail
    and this

    She and her husband ignored the citations and warrants
    Make me feel a lot less sorry for her

  4. #4
    FishTail Guest
    Whilst I'm no big fan of the government (especially local petty bureaucrats) telling me what I can and can't do with my private property, the law is the law...she knows this.

    I'm surprised the law doesn't require a "willful neglect" to carry out the works but that's up to them. The jury obviously didn't have much sympathy with her.

  5. #5
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    No doubt, the city's ultimate goal is to make an example out of her - not because her house needs a new coat of paint, but because she stuck a finger in their face and then ignored them.

    The city could perform the repairs and then slap a lien on the house - They'll get their money back when she dies, which can't be too far off - Done deal. It's been done before.

    HOWEVER, now that this has turned into a pissing contest, I fully expect them to try to take her house away from her now, in order to pay the fines - What public good would that serve to put this lady in a homeless shelter because she refused to paint her house?

    Going after her criminally is not the best use of scarce city resources either (how many times have I heard that said about going after real criminals who actually hurt people)? Look at the huge backlog of felony warrants in this region, and they're wasting police resources, prosecutor resources, court resources, and jail space on this little old lady? Give me a break.

    In Texas I believe it's technically illegal to jail someone just because they cannot pay a fine - Ordering repairs is a defacto fine. Sure, they can jail someone because of non-appearence, of course, so I'm sure that's the legal mechanism they used - but that doesn't make it right if she truly could not afford to repair her home. I believe the prosecutor has some leadway here. If it's proven that she's misleading the city about her ability to pay for the repairs, then it should turn criminal, but only then.

    I think I heard that she got mad or depressed & stopped responding at some point because there were so many citations (over 100) and she could not possibly pay the fines or pay for the repairs (she claims)... Who wouldn't. Not that it's an excuse for not appearing in court, but you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, and her health could certainly be a viable excuse for not appearing.

    Admittedly though, she & her husband didn't look all that sick & poor in the video of her coming out of the courthouse, but looks can be deceiving so in my mind, before they're jailed it's the city's moral burden to prove that she can afford the repairs and lied about it, even if not their legal burden, since the root of this whole thing is a city beautification ordanance, probably a Class C misdemeanor (a fine at the most).

    I also wonder how many other houses in the same condition have received as many citations when the homeowners could not afford the repairs - Does the city have that many inspectors? I doubt it, so I wonder if the lady may even have a Malicious Prosecution or Harassment case here? It's a long shot but an interesting question I think.
    .
    Last edited by TXCharlie; 03-03-06 at 05:40 PM.

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