Tennessee Woman Jailed Over Poor Yard Work

220px-'JardimBotanico.BotanicalGarden.CuritibaParanaBrasilBrazilWe have previously discussed the criminalization of every element of American society. A new case in Lenoir City, Tennessee is the latest such example. Like many Americans, Karen Holloway has failed to keep her yard work up. Few Americans however have ended up in jail like Holloway after her failure to maintain her yard was turned into a criminal matter. It appears the above garden would be more in line with those wishing to avoid time in the slammer for their overgrown yards.

I have long been a critic of the criminalization of America where millions of citizens are finding themselves labeled as felons for acts that used to be treated as strictly civil matters. The trend toward criminalization feeds itself as politicians insist that their pet peeve (from feeding pigeons to missing parent-teacher meetings) are no less important than other crimes. The result is that everything is being translated into a criminal offense.
Karen Holloway was cited by Lenoir City officials for not keeping up her yard.

Holloway stated that she was sent a citation over the summer, but with her husband going to school and both working with only one vehicle (and two kids at home), she let the yard work slide. It is not clear why she was jailed rather than her husband or both owners.

She was given a five day jail sentence by Judge Terry Vann. She said that she was never told that she could have a lawyer or read her rights. Vann however insisted on jail time, though it was reduced to six hours. Vann suggested he might add on more jail time if the city isn’t satisfied with the yard work.

Source: Local 8

101 thoughts on “Tennessee Woman Jailed Over Poor Yard Work”

  1. Karen, I’m glad you and DBQ have gotten together here. You are both good souls.

  2. DBQ – You’re so lucky. I’m still making adjustments to our fencing to keep the mice, rats, voles, moles, shrews, deer mice, ground squirrels, rabbits, coyotes and birds out of my garden. It’s kind of like a zombie apocalypse out here. As soon as something green pokes its head out of my raised, fenced, garden beds, the ravening hordes descend.

  3. Well, my guess is that somebody wasn’t put in jail just for failure to do yard work. There’s another side to these stories at times too. Consider, for example, certain absentee landowners from North Jersey with 2nd homes in South Jersey near or along the shore. Many were in the habit of not bothering to tend their property as neatly as they might otherwise would if they lived there full year. This leaves an eyesore for the year round residents. Now, all of a sudden, not so unreasonable sounding now, does it? But now the jail part is simply a failyure to address the summons. So, now of course that converts to “I got put in jail for not mowing the lawn” and in reality the real story is: “I got summoned for not mowing my lawn” — I got “jailed for not answering the summons”

    Indeed if you get parking tickets and don’t pay them, if you get pulled over, they’ll arrest you…..

  4. this is certainly a civil violation in my view. If it was a contempt of civil court perhaps this was the jailing issue. I don’t know.

    Mike’s suggestion of the liens is the more appropriate route.

    Our state supreme court a few decades ago ruled the state could not enforce criminal laws against homeowners based solely upon aesthetics alone. It could do so for violations of health and sanitary conditions such as having diseased animal carcasses or conditions hazardous to others. I don’t remember the case citation as it was very long ago.

    Several cities have enacted graffiti eradication laws here that target property owners if they do not remove gang graffiti within a certain time period, though through civil infractions. I don’t agree with these cities in passing these laws. If the property owner contested the infraction in court and used as a defense that he wants the graffiti to remain because it makes a statement about urban life under the state constitution’s guarantee of free speech I am convinced such a person would prevail in court.

    Moreover, there was another precedent set that I believe could apply. The court ruled here that a person who was injured in a DUI crash could not be charged as an accessory to the DUI because they were a victim of a crime. Using this perhaps the property owner could argue that he/she was a crime victim and therefore exempt from prosecution.

  5. I had goat meat for the first time in a Moroccan restaurant recently. I liked it. Sorta like lamb.

  6. Nick, I worked with Ernest Hancock as my client for nine years now. Google his name and Freedoms Phoenix to see the website I built for him. It’s being reworked for a new server by someone else temporarily, but the content is basically the same as it always has been. Google “Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock” to get more on his online radio program. Lots of libertarian and outright anarchist contributors, some crazy, some quite rational.

  7. It is open and historic knowledge that arsons created the pathway for the interstate. In our small neighborhood it was code and selective arrests and illness. We were among the few young people so manger to survuve. The corruption needs to be curtailed look at Wayne county Michigan!!

  8. Having been the target of a corrupt city who normally arsons people from their homes to build interstates. Specifically the interstate four malfunction junction through Tampa Florida imwill say this. They targeted this woman as they do other homeowners. We went to Washington dc for two weeks and retirndped in 2009 or 2010to find the right of way full of old wheels tires and garbage, large appliances dumped on our property and lately a huge hole gouged in our fence by the city. I just smell development in the works. They’ve broken our fence three times now. This is the same bunch who also came after sami Al arian. Our property is very valuable to us and to them but they have all the heavy machinery ergo they punch holes in our fence and dump stuff in. Code court is one place you allegedly must appear even though it is a civil matter. It’s control and the city itself and the ones who write the code have been arrested mortgage fraud dues the whole nine yards yet out there police.omg the little people. I don’t even know where they could collect all the trash they threw on our lot. However, one Sunday I watched one of them take every Sunday paper from the machine and sail the loose sheets through the small neighborhood it makes a quick and terrible mess. Tracing it back to the responsible developer proved much easier than I thought. Hope the same for this lady.

  9. Chestercat1 / Schulte

    Speaking of goats, there is a lady just outside of our town that has a herd of goats which she rents out. She will take them to a person’s yard and they stay until everything but the house is eaten. Honestly, they can clean a yard in no time. Also, the small amount of fertilizer they leave behind only helps the yard to grow more. several of the elderly around here who do not own a mower and have big yards really rely on her. Her herd of goats keep her in business and she has never had one stray on her. It is almost like the goats know what their job is. and they do it. (the yards here are larger than most)

    Schulte, that may be good extra income for you.

  10. I wish we had more gardening classes and community gardens for the poor here in the US.

    @ Karen.

    Me too. I wish we had more cooking classes too. It would go a long way to helping people eat inexpensively and well.

    I do a lot of gardening. Not much this year because we have to redo the fence around the raised bed area and expand it a bit for some ground types of plants [squash etc]. The deer are really a problem. Unless we build an 8 ft fence the will eat everything EVERYTHING. So all I did this year was the rhubarb, blackberries, fruit and nut trees. We traded apples, two different types of plums, two kinds of pears and wild plum jam for all sorts of other things. One of our trading partners regularly brings us fresh eggs. Sooooo good 🙂

    Because we are in a rural area and don’t have to be so meticulous as that garden in the link, we can be a bit more casual. No one cares. I’m glad I shared that garden link. So pretty.

    Rural living is the bomb. No nearby neighbors to annoy and be annoyed by…….but plenty of people to help out when you need it. Trading services and trading bounty is a big deal. For instance, hubby just redid a small pump house water system plumbing for a guy who is going to build us a custom cabinet to hide the gun safe.

    Goats are great. They are hilarious to watch too. They will eat anything….and you’d better guard the things that you don’t want them to eat.!!!! They are used quite often for weed control here. Some people raise the Boar goats and they are quite good to eat. The Mexicans buy them if they aren’t raising them for their own use.

  11. Small community near me uses several small spaces for its community garden, then have a farmer’s stand. No problems that I’ve heard about.

  12. We dogs “read em their rights”. It goes like this:
    “We have a right to put a turd in your yard. You have the right to pick it up. You have the obligation to remain silent. If you bark at us we will put a lot more turds in your yard when you are not home. We have the right to not remain silent and to bark when the turds are dropped. Anything you say will be remembered– by us dogs in a court of dog.”

  13. DBQ – I LOVE that link to the front yard pottage garden. How lovely, well planned, and immaculately kept. It’s just unbelievable that front yard gardens are outlawed in cities in Canada, the US, and elsewhere. What a beautiful example of independence. I wish we had more gardening classes and community gardens for the poor here in the US.

    I agree with you that it’s only the city’s business when a yard becomes a safety or health hazard.

  14. “There are two types of people in the world: Those who just want to be left alone, and those who just won’t leave anyone alone.” — Ernest Hancock, Libertarian radio talk show host.

    Oppressive city laws and codes are the result of continuously expanding local government, which is a device or tool of those who want to control the behavior of others. People who feel secure about themselves and their lives are comfortable without a heavy-handed government. People who are insecure need to feel they are protected by a strong government. People who operate governments want laws which constantly increase their power and want the role of their authority to grow, as this provides job security for them.

    Most laws never expire, they just remain on the books and accumulate. Law makers like this, and they are always creating new laws to regulate things that were previously uncontrolled in order to justify the existence of their jobs. The more laws there are, the more control the authoritarians believe they have.

    What allows this to happen is the belief held by the vast majority of an ever increasing population that governments are good and laws provide protection, so having more laws all the time is not only acceptable but actually desirable. Modern double-think reinforces this. Laws are titled and worded to sound like they are protective, such as the “Patriot Act”, when in reality they are quite oppressive and restrictive of natural individual freedoms. Their proponents rationalize and justify the existence of these laws, from international treaties to neighborhood housing codes, by saying they are voluntarily accepted by those who are affected because they voted for the representatives who wrote them.

    “Government is Mankind’s worst invention. Governments form armed groups of agents specifically authorized to force compliance to the arbitrary standards and rules set by those who are in control at the time. More people have been killed by government agents, in routine police activities to outright war, than from any other cause of human death throughout history.” — Tyger Gilbert

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