Monday, June 22, 2009

City ordinance violates rights of suspects

Fort Wayne City Code Section 130.06 requires landlords to evict tenants who are suspected of a drug crime. Even if one supports current drug laws, this ordinance ignores due process and the presumption of innocence. A defendant who posts bail should be allowed to remain in his current residence until the conclusion of his trial, assuming he complies with the terms of his lease.

Landlords already have strong incentives to keep drug offenders out of their rental properties. They should even have the right to evict tenants that they know are breaking the law. But they should not be forced to do so.

Currently there is a lawsuit to get the ordinance overturned. The City Council should save the city the cost of fighting the lawsuit and repeal the ordinance.

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