Sunday, December 26, 2010

Landlord sues over alleged East Lansing mailbox searches

From the Lansing State Journal:
C. Michael Doherty received 251 tickets from the city last year for violating maximum occupancy provisions on three rental properties he owned in the city.

He paid $7,800 in fines to settle the matter, but is now suing East Lansing and three current and former employees of the city's code enforcement department over the way he alleges the violations were discovered: looking inside of mailboxes.

'Just about everyone knows you're not supposed to get into somebody's mailbox,' said Doherty's attorney Jeffrey Hank.

The complaint alleges that the practice is a violation of Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and asks that the court void previous code violation settlements in cases where mailbox searches were used to gather evidence and 'refund all financial settlements to victims of the unlawful housing court enforcement regime.'

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