February 16, 2007

Maryland's High Court Disallows Baltimore's Property-Seizing Attempt

By Maryland's High Court Disallows Baltimore's Property-Seizing Attempt

Legal News Line has this story today on the Valsamaki case. Excerpt:

"The basic rule in America has always been that government must give you your day in court before it takes your property," said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Timothy Sandefur, who filed a friend of the court brief in the case. "But in Maryland and other places, bureaucrats have been exploiting their emergency powers when it's not an emergency. They try to take property first, and ask questions later. It's wonderful to see the court issue such a strongly worded decision striking down such practices.

"Unfortunately, both the federal Supreme Court and the Maryland Court of Appeals allow government to take land through eminent domain and give it to private developers. But under the quick take procedure, bureaucrats don't even have to go through a trial to figure out whether their plan is legal, or what the property is worth. That means that if the owner eventually wins in court, he comes back to find that his property has been destroyed in the meantime. So the rules are unfair to begin with-and government doesn't even play by those rules."

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