Boulder Judge Steals Land

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Promoted from the diaries -- Neil Stevens

I live in Chicago, so I didn't find out about this until I read a column by Mike Rosen in the Rocky Mountain News. Normally, if Mike Rosen says one thing I tend to believe the exact opposite, but our views aligned on this case.

Don and Susie Kirlin moved to Boulder in 1980, and took advantage of the market a few years later to buy 2 lots near their house with a combined area of 80' x 60'. The way life gets ahead of people some times meant that the Kirlins had to postpone building their dream home. Unfortunately for them, this would mean their land would get taken away from them.

Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member - among other elected positions - Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called "adverse possession" to claim the land for their own.

According to the Denver Post,

Despite owning the land, despite living only 200 yards from the property, despite hiking past it every week with their three dogs, despite spraying for weeds and fixing fences, despite paying homeowner association dues and property taxes each year, someone else had taken a shine to it. Someone powerful.

Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member - among other elected positions - Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called "adverse possession" to claim the land for their own.

The Kirlins paid $65/month in Home Owners Association Dues and $16,000 a year in property taxes. When warned by friends that "powerful people" were interested in taking his land, they laughed it off.

Don Kirlin hired a contractor to put a fence up on his property, but the contractor was immediately stopped by Robert McLean, who claimed the land for his own. In 2 1/2 hours he produced a stop-work order from one of his former co-workers, Boulder District Judge Morris Sandstead. McLean informed the Kirlins he was taking them to court.

Colorado's law of "adverse possession" affects any land that has been aggressively used, without the owner's permission, for twenty years without the owner declaring ownership. If this happens, ownership of the land legally shifts from the original owner to the "trespasser". The law has been intended to settle instances of misplaced fences and buildings mistakenly crossing maplines, but has been used maliciously by two lawyers to protect their existing scenic views.

According to McLean, even though he didn't own the land or pay taxes or dues, he developed an attachment to it. This attachment expressed itself in a path through the lot to get into his backyard, as well as the occasional political picnic.

All of this adds up to District Judge James Klein ordering the Kirlins to sign over about 34 percent of their 4,750-square-foot lot to McLean and his wife last month.

The lot, valued at $800,000 to $1 million dollars, is essentially worthless now. The Kirlins have already racked up more than $100,000 in legal fees, and the McLeans have just informed him they want the Kirlins to pay their legal fees as well.

There is some good news for the Kirlins, however. On Tuesday Judge Klein refused to give the McLeans another 9" x 80' strip of the lot.

Cases like this infuriate me... By insinuating personal attachment to his neighbor's land, and the view that would potentially get blocked by his neighbor's dream house, political people in positions of authority use the law against common citizens to steal from them. Right now the Kirlins are filing appeals, but at a minimum the case will go on for another 3 years and they'll rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional legal fees.

Robert McLean and his wife report feeling beleagured by the enourmous opposition to their case, but feel like they are in the right. It seems to me that the best way to fix this would be for them to "forfeit" the land awarded them by the city, let the Kirlins have the lot, and forget that they ever had this machiavellian idea to steal from their neighbor.

With all the legal foundations out there, I would have thought this would be a case that some group would be there to help. Or at least a legal fund.

From what I understand they really didn't have a case to begin with. Just friends with the judge.

This story has some strong parallels with the story of Naboth's Vineyard, which starts in I Kings 21, where the wicked king (Ahab) and his notorious wife (Jezebel) subvert the legal system of their time to have their neighbor Naboth executed on false charges and to seize his land.

Abah gets his reward in Chapter 22. Jezebel hangs on a fair bit longer, but finally gets her reward in 2 Kings 9.

I'm not quite sure I'd wish gory deaths of this Boulder judge and his wife; a nice Biblical plague (as befell Pharoah) would suffice...

And Rightly So!

Its refreshingly devoid of sympathy for evil doers.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

As opposed to New Testament teachings like 'turn the other cheek' and 'do unto others'?

Into disrespect for the new.

They are very different books. but both are good books.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Please forget I mentioned it.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I was a bit curt to you in my reply, Joli. My apologies. I've always enjoyed your comments here at RS, even when we disagree. I agree that both the Old and New Testaments have much to teach. Don't hesitate to smack me when I deserve it.

Here's hoping somebody with some clout and some resources (like say Landmark Legal, or ACLJ) might take up the fight!

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

You're joking, right?

Maybe the Mountain States Legal Foundation.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

he was referring to the American Center for Law & Justice (Pat Robertson's response to the ACLU).

However I think that the ACLU would probably have some interest in helping these homeowners too.

-Alex

My astigmatism and the fine print turned that "J" into a "U." Thanks.

I don't think the ACLU weighed in to help Kelo. Why would they get involved here? If they really were who they claim to be, I'd agree with you, but they aren't.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

days. I saw the same thing (a "U" not a "J")...
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CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

is probably S&W.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

referring to the ACLJ (who is in general the anti-ACLU).

And not particularly that the Boulder case is right up their alley, I was just trying to brainstorm on 'lawyer-type outfits that are actually on the side of truth, justice, and the American way".

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

How about typing it ACL J? Thanks. :>)
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CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

Stare decisis is fo' suckas -- Feddie

for geezers, eh?

OK with me. We need it.

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

about property rights or abuse of process if it does by lefties or anti-Christians.

---
Finrod's First Law of Bandwidth:
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it takes the bandwidth of ten thousand.

The McLeans were, respectively, chairman and chairwoman of the Boulder County Democratic Party.

---
Finrod's First Law of Bandwidth:
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it takes the bandwidth of ten thousand.

______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

these jerks are prominant Boulder Democrats. I personally usually vote Democrat (sometimes Green, sometimes Libertarian). These people disgust me. They are politically connected elites who are so self-righteous and selfish that they will twist the law for their own ends.

Is very old and very well-respected.

If, in fact, the McLean's used a path through the Kirlins' lot, and the Kirlins said nothing, then the law would probably, indeed grant them some form of easement to continue to use the path.

Without further details about exactly what was claimed and what the judge did - I don't see how that kind of usage (if that's indeed all that was involved) leads to an award of that much property, but the theory under which it was claimed is not the problem. Likely, the problem is in the gross misapplication of the rules of adverse possession by a biased judge.

In all likelihood, they won't be getting their land back. Appeals in stuff like this tend to offer great deference to factual findings of the trial court. And this trial judge probably fudged the findings so as to be practically immune from reversal.

Sucky indeed - and the Kirlins deserve whatever help people can provide for their legal fees, and to carry on the fight (I don't know under what statute the McLean's are claiming legal fees - this is really a settle title action, and it is not the Kirlins fault that the McLeans wanted to take offensive action on the issue).

yep by Bon

I worry that calling adverse possession "arcane common law" sends out the wrong message. This is a very common occurrence and I don’t want anyone thinking this is isolated to Colorado or the least bit rare.

Adverse possession is one of the primary subjects of first year property law. It is a shock to any reasonable person attending law school (myself included). Lawyers and judges who support the doctrine of adverse possession posit that: if someone uses your land, and you do not, they need it more than you. Of course the same backwards logic could be used to excuse a poor person mugging a rich person or any number of other crimes, but they seem not to care.

Every state has such laws, differing only in the time requirement. Some require as little as 5 years.

It is a terrible injustice that the legal system gives legitimacy to stealing in this way, but unfortunately it is so ingrained at this point that it will be hard to change. A constitutional amendment may do the trick, but that would take serious popular upheaval.

-Ben

The decay of the moral fibre of this country on display.

What's right would have been for the McLeans to BUY said property. But hey, why buy it when they can steal it under the color of the law?

Not at all suprised they are Democrat lawyers.

"Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it."

Gilbert K. Chesterton

1) The judge and plaintiff had a close personal and political relationship that should have led the judge to recuse himself.

2) The the speed of the injunction issuance previously mentioned indicates privileged access to the local judges.

3) There was serious factual issues over the duration of said trepass, verification of these political parties, questions about maintenance, regularity of use, etc. that needs to be closely examined in the hearing record. For instance I've heard mention of satelites photos and other evidence questioning the age of the trail.

If there's someone who seriously wants to take on the case, there's a whole other legal approach that might be considered, based on a case I read about many years ago, that would seem apropos to this case, which I'd be interested in discussing.

And Rightly So!

in a higher venue, let alone the Colorado Bar. I, personally, think it would also blow up both the quaint politics of Boulder, as well as, the injustice of the Kelo decision.

"Hand me a flish" - Chico Marx

This is not unique to Boulder, unfortunately. This, or some close variation, is the law everywhere in the US.

Also, it is worth noting that adverse possession and eminent domain are very different concepts. One involves the power of the government to take someone's property (formerly for government use, now for whatever they want) and one involves the power of an individual to take someone's property. There are times I think eminent domain makes sense (if the state wants to build a railroad, for instance, they have to go through someone’s land) but I am of the opinion that adverse possession never makes sense.

But on the subject of Kelo/Midkiff: why haven't the GOP candidates, aside from McCain, said anything about official abuses of eminent domain? It is pretty important to me, but none of them seem to think it is worth discussing.

-Ben

surprise me (I live outside of Chicago, where land is more like a fiefdom of the City, or Cook County, than real ownership.)

Also, Thank you for making the distinction, for this layman, between the two concepts. I appreciate your opinion on adverse possession, makes "No Trespassing/ No Hunting" signs much more important.

"Hand me a flish" - Chico Marx

One feels very alone as a conservative in law school. It is nice to be able to talk to people about it who have not yet been conditioned to accept the law as an unchanging, unjust animal.

-Ben

I have "No Trespassing" sign by my driveway and on all four sides of my property. I'm also considering going down to the county clerk and putting on public record that there is a $500 per person per day land use fee. If you come on my land without an invitation you are breaking the law and you owe me $500. I also don't have a "Welcome" mat on my porch for the same reason.

I was talking to my neighbor today and she said that I was the easiest one in the neighborhood to get along with. You don't have to be unfriendly to protect your rights. "Those who don't demand their rights don't have any."-United States Supreme Court

Spending less than $100 and a couple of hours buying and putting up "No Trespassing" signs could have prevented this.

http://theeasytraveler.blogspot.com/
www.mypowermall.com/biz/home/83206

Nope. by Bon

Not exactly.

The elements of adverse possession actually include that the person making use of another’s land must know that it is not theirs, and do it anyway. This is called the ‘hostile’ element. Since they are already not supposed to be there and have no legal claim to be there, a sign confirming it will not change anything.

The only thing a person who owns land can do is find out the number of years required for adverse possession to take effect, and make sure they visit their land more often than that. If someone is using it, call the cops and have them thrown off. They can also do their best to use the land regularly. Both of these approaches may interrupt the continuous adverse use of their property, which is one element of adverse possession.

This sounds ridiculous because it is.

-Ben

I googled around for cases affecting New York (where I live), and found this:

These days, many of the reported cases turn on the issue of whether there is proof that the initial occupancy of the property is under a claim of right, that is, can the person now claiming ownership by possession prove that at the time he or she took possession, they believed they were the rightful owner. In the Staten Island case mentioned above, the plaintiffs [who had advanced the adverse-possession claim- blackhedd] lost because they admitted that the fence was constructed on land that they knew did not belong to them. On the other hand, in a case arising from a property line dispute in the Seagirt section of Brooklyn, the plaintiffs were able to prove that for nearly forty years they believed that a low brick wall, which the evidence had shown was built in the 1930's, between their property and their neighbors', was the boundary or property line. In fact, the property line was several feet closer to the plaintiffs' property. By establishing this "claim of right" and satisfying all the other criteria, the property line was, in effect, redrawn to conform with the brick wall landmark.

New York has long disfavored the acquisition of title by adverse possession, and the proof required to establish it must be clear and convincing. Mere possession, no matter how long continued, gives no title. But possession, coupled with a claim that ownership rests with the possessor, may prove costly.

I was also surprised to find that over the last five years, no fewer than 100 adverse-possession cases have been brought in New York, almost all of them involving rural or suburban areas, and most of them involving disputed property lines.

And in regard to Colorado, this turned up:

In Colorado, the duration of such possession is seven (7) years if the claimant claims under color of title. If the claimant does not make his/her claim under color of title, the duration of possession is eighteen (18) years. Colorado Code §38-41-101, 108, 109.

So Colorado law appears to differ, in that if you wait long enough (18 years instead of 7), there is a predisposition to adverse possession even without an explicit claim (what in other spheres may be thought of as "theft").

Here is the NYS law: http://www.tenant.net/Other_Laws/RPAPL/rpapl05.html

All “claim of title” means is that the adverse possessor entered onto the land intending to take ownership of it. I think that site misstates the law a bit.

In that minority of state you are right, though. Some require color of title, which means the adverse possessor has a document, which they think is correct, giving them title.

It would still probably not help a property owner who does not visit their land and only puts up a sign, though. A sign sitting there for 10 years without human authority behind it does not carry much legal weight. The adverse possessor could credibly claim that they thought the sign was a prank or a mistake.

-Ben

Jawa reported this back in November. Some comments there worth checking out:

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/190190.php

This still makes me so mad. I remember some signs around our farm when I was young (30+ years ago) that said "Trespassers will be shot"; sounds like a sign for our times.

And build the worst eyesore they can on it. Pref a Junkyard of some sort. Theres a guy that builds stone henges out of buicks that comes to mind.

As soon as he starts to break ground they will have to go back to court or they will have to reach some other settlement.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

All the more reason to shoot trespassers. They may in fact be trying to steal your land. Perhaps Joe Horn can use this as a defense

and activities of the thieves are not mentioned, one can assuem they are democrats.
This would not happen in Texas.

that "adverse possession" is an accepted legal concept in Texas, as it is in virtually every other State. It makes pretty good sense in the old states where original deeds often describe property in "meets and bounds" that may well move around, e.g., "three hundred yards north along the run of the branch..." or some such. Old streams may no longer be there, old monuments may have been removed. Even where there is a modern survey, the survey only indicates where one party or the other says the line should be and there is often a conflict between Farmer Brown's plat and Farmer Smith's.

It has been a long time since I needed to know much about property law, but as I recall the elements were that you had to know about the use and not have consented to that use. I didn't think it mattered how much or even if you used your property, rather it is a matter of your letting someone else use it without permission. I have property in Georgia that until last year was mostly described in meets and bounds from deeds that go back to the Creek Cession lottery in 1795. When we still had a good bit of property and were farming it, it was common, in some cases truly necessary, for people to use our land for access to theirs. Our solution back then was to specifically meet them when they were on the property and either give them explicit permission to be there or tell them to get off. If you'd like to spend some real money, hire a surveyor to sort that old stuff out; cost me almost as much as the land is worth!

I agree with the poster above, though; this one will be tough for the property owner because of the deference afforded trial courts on the facts of a case. That fact is the reason that so many issues that should be purely a state law question have resulted in federal legislation to establish a seperate federal cause of action. The mythical legacy of Jim Crow is the lynching, but it should be born in mind that the tree branch was rarely resorted to and the victim as likely to be white as black; the real injustice was worked in jury trials, the result of which was all but impossible to reverse. There's lots of examples of people acquitted of murder by a "jury of their peers" and convicted of violating the victim's civil rights, since only making it a separate federal question could get around the trial court. When we decry federalizing crimes and judicial activism, we should remember that whether the issue is race-based murder in Mississippi or property lines in Colorado, the states don't always have a stellar record.

In Vino Veritas

that our Castle Doctrine would allow me to sit on my property and shoot the thieves. The presumption is that it is OK to lay down thieves on your property.
Smarmy, process abusing lawyers trying to steal my land would be great targets. And being lefties, they are anti-gun. All the better. We are quickly lowering the numbers of criminals in Texas thanks to this law right now.

in rural Georgia, poking around on somebody else's land was a good way to wind up looking down the barrel of a gun, suspect it is still true. The only time I've ever actually been shot was when I was 12 and on our own land, albeit a little used part. A couple of fellows were "adversely possessing" it for purposes of a moonshine still and a couple of buddies and I stumbled on it. We ran like Hell but we caught some buckshot in the back and butt, thankfully at a long enough distance to not do any real damage - hurt like Hell though. Told the Old Man, who told the Sheriff, and in a couple of hours there was a lot of smoke and noise. Never did catch the guys, though I suspect the Sheriff had a pretty good idea who they were.

I'm sitting a couple of feet from a wall full of guns, some of which are so big, black, and scary that if I tried to buy them now, they'd come under the assault weapon ban. I am ALWAYS armed when I'm out on the boat or in the woods. Alaska is a carry unless prohibited state, but I almost never do; Juneau is a very peaceful place. That said, I'm troubled by an interpretation of "Castle Laws" that would allow you to just shoot a trespasser on your property absent some reasonable basis for fear or threat. If someone entered my house uninvited, I'd probably shoot first and ask questions later, but just poking around or being on the wrong side of my property line wouldn't do it. They'd probably be looking down the barrel of a very ugly gun, but I wouldn't shoot unless I perceived a real threat.

I do agree with you that the existence of the threat has a very salutory effect on crime however. An armed society is a polite society.

In Vino Veritas

Probably not a surprise but I'll try the contrarian position on this case.

Why is it that the Kirlins did absolutely nothing to enforce their property rights during the period required by Colorado law?

Adverse possession laws exist in, I believe, every state and in federal law. It would seem that there are dozens if not hundreds of cases each year. Why is it that this case is posted here? Is it the perceived David v. Goliath nature of it? Is it because the other party is involved in Democratic politics?

Maybe there was collusion between the opposing party and the judge but to get to the point where that collusion could bear fruit required a very long period of neglect by the Kirlins.

Coupled with the improper connections between the plaintiff and the judge, they raise a serious question as to whether the factual conditions for adverse possession were truly met, or whether the judge colluded to accept unsubstantiated claims. Given the severity of the outcome, which deprives the Kirlins of essentially their entire property value, it's crucial that they received untainted due process.

And Rightly So!

There are so many bad common law property doctrines that any shedding of light upon them is a good idea to me. Not enough people understand that however seriously they may take their property rights, the courts do not. If everyone knew of the existence of these laws, it would become a hot political issue and suddenly something may be done about it.

We cannot just accept bad law because it has been around for a long time. Paying deference to bad, but generally accepted, law has been the root of a lot of problems in American history. It was John Marshall’s rationalization for the continuation of the slave trade, for example. Paraphrasing: ‘This violates everything natural and decent, but it’s what we do, so we can do it.’

I don't think anyone finds that convincing.

-Ben

You are looking at one case and deciding that the law is bad. The most common application for this type law is in land line disputes and access easements. In many of those cases, it actually makes sense. In this case, it may or may not, depending on the facts, which do seem to be in dispute.

To your other comment, "If more people knew about the existence of these laws...." this isn't some arcane, never seen law that they pulled out for this occasion. This is a very common principle in property law, much the same as convenants, rights-of-way, drainage and utility easements, etc. How can you be a property owner and not know this kind of stuff? I'm not an attorney and have never had any training in property law save civics class in junior high (a long time ago in a small rural school). Others can chime in to tell me if I'm wrong but I think most people do know about these things. With most rights, come responsibilities. Property rights are no different.

There has been an epidemic of abuses of eminent domain since Midkiff. They are very common. I submit to you that almost no one knows about them. If people knew about it, I am quite sure it would be a bigger deal. I feel the same way about adverse possession. If more people were aware of it, it would be changed.

Adverse possession is bad law. In a dispute over land the court should give deference to the land owner, not the person who took possession. If that individual wants to continue using the land, let them pay out the nose for their mistake.

It is also different than an easement. Permitting limited use of ones land and thus creating a right for the user to continue to use the land follows logically. It is backed by sound public policy. Allowing one individual to take ownership of another's land when they are not looking is very different.

-Ben

I don't think eminent domain was the subject here so I'll pass on that one. As for adverse possession, I think courts generally do give deference to the land owner but, I'm sure, not always.

Under most state laws, it takes a very long time of inaction on the part of the landowner before these laws can be applied. That's my point. A little bit of responsbility for ownership and the bad side of these laws can never affect you.

Both legal concepts would be repugnant to the average person, if they knew about them.

You and I seem to have very different definitions of the word ‘responsible’. If a 30-year-old couple buys a plot of land to retire on in 30 years, are they irresponsible to assume that they will still own their own land when it comes time to use it? Should a person who pays for a piece of property be expected to map out every inch of it in case someone is using it without their permission? Would it be unreasonable for a person to assume that the law protects their right to own the land they paid for, even if they only notice a decade down the line?

The person who is being irresponsible is the person who is using land that does not belong to them. If they have built on the land or they have been making use of the land without the owner’s knowledge, they should be forced to pay whatever the owner wants for it or get off. Putting the onus on landowners to be ‘responsible’ while granting legal rights to thieves is a silly misplacement of culpability.

Even if we accept your definition of 'responsible', why should people have to be responsible with their property in order to keep it? It belongs to them. They can do whatever they want with it.

It seems like the public policy you see behind the doctrine is that it encourages people to be responsible by ensuring that irresponsible owners can have their property taken from them. Thankfully, I don’t think many people agree that that is something to strive for.

-Ben

To make this kind of claim on land, my understanding is that you have to have begun paying the property tax on the land in question.

As long as the owner continues paying the tax, then the owner gets to keep it.

HTML Help for Red Staters

It also raises the question, doesn't the judge owe some back taxes on the land and aren't the kirlins due a refund with interest ?
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

You must control access, pay taxes and do it for years.

This is a sad law that needs revision. My church once a year has to lock the doors and chain off the parking lot to make sure that the property doesn't become someone else’s. Forget that church members use it constantly if some yahoo cuts across the parking lot for a few years they have a legal claim to it. Leave it to lawyers....

“It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.”"-Max Planck

Corben, go take a property law class some time and you'll learn something. Adverse possession has been around a long while. It is not a "law" - it is a common law doctrine that pre-existed the nation, and similar concepts existed even in the law of the Roman Empire.

While it is, in recent times, regulated to some extent by statutory provisions, they are not the cause of the underlying travesty in this case.

And, as for a church - they are not "required" to chain the doors one day a year. The doctrine only requires that the owner make at least a regular attempt to show retention of control and dominion over the land. If they choose the chain the doors method, that's fine.

The flip side should prove the usefulness of adverse possession. Example: Empty lot in a rural area is owned by X, who lives quite a ways away and doesn't really visit the property. Y, a down-on-his-luck guy, comes along and decides to pitch his tent on the lot since it's empty and there's nobody else around. Y eventually turns his little "tent house" into a meager but sufficient dwelling, and he stays there for 10 or 15 years. Then one day, X comes out, sees Y, and throws him off the lot. Adverse possession was born out of cases like this - that Y's use of land that was otherwise being "wasted" by X is more valuable, and should be rewarded, than the strict "title to land" claim that X has. And in a case like that, my guess is that the press would be quick to talk about the heartlessness and horror of throwing poor Y out on his butt. And many of us would probably agree that it was not the right thing to do.

As I noted above, the problem is not with the legal doctrine - it is with the application of it in this case by a judge who could probably have his ethics and impartiality questioned. In the right hands this probably never would have gotten this far. But the powerful will work to get the rules bent sometimes - and that shouldn't be condoned, but the blame for it should be placed on the illegitimate use of legitimate and generally benign means and not on the means used.

Of course it's a law. It's just a judge-made law, the worst kind.

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I am sure I could learn a lot by taking any number of courses… thanks for the advice.

I still do not like the common Law. If I purchase a piece of land in Texas to build a retirement home on in 40 years and 40 years later come down to find a bunch of squatters living in modularized trailer/ houses on it I should be able to kick them off my property. Just because someone has been stealing from me for 40 years does not mean they should be allowed to steal from me forever.

How bout another scenario. I have a jar of money I keep in my shed out in the country. My neighbor finds out about it and steals from it all the time. I do not discover that he has been stealing my money till he takes off with my lawn mower. Of course, I have no right to stop him because he has been stealing from my shed for years….

“It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.”"-Max Planck

in this discussion is that the rightful owner must know that his property is being used by another and take no steps to prevent or regulate that use. All you have to do is either throw them out for tresspassing or give them permission for limited use, e.g., passing through or builing a treehouse for their kids, etc.

In Vino Veritas

Growing up in a nice little town in Texas my friends and I would often play hide and seek. Our street wasn’t busy and we would often use all of our neighbors’ yards for our games. Our neighbors were the either the two lazy to kick us out of their yard types or kind and understanding to kids having a good time. We never “asked” permission to hide in their bushes and they never kicked us out…

I’m going to drive by that neighborhood someday soon and see if anyone has torn out any bushes. By golly, those bushes are mine. I hide behind them for years :)

“It is not the possession of truth, but the success which attends the seeking after it, that enriches the seeker and brings happiness to him.”"-Max Planck

just trying to explain it, but it has been a part of Common Law since time immemorial. Much as we like that "pursuit of property/happiness" stuff, property law really isn't fair and is basically a matter of how much justice can you afford. Just the way it is.

In Vino Veritas

for the owners would have been to to claim that the interlopers had actually been given permission to cross the property? Therefore, no adverse possession? Why didn't their lawyer think of that?

The "Third Worst Person in the World" and aiming higher.

not to claim it is if it isn't true. Beyond that, I don't know enough of the facts or arguments.

In Vino Veritas

 
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