Norristown Responds to ACLU Lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit claiming Norristown's "Three Strikes" ordinance is unconstitutional and threatens the lives and safety of domestic violence victims and other tenants.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit against Norristown on Wednesday over the municipality's "Three Strikes" ordinance aimed at landlords whose tenants are the source of repeated police calls for "disorderly conduct or other activities that disturb or threaten the neighborhood."

The ACLU charges that the ordinance is unconstitutional and "punishes innocent tenants and their landlords for requesting police assistance."

The case was filed on behalf of a Norristown resident, Lakisha Briggs, a victim of domestic violence who the ACLU says faced eviction for calling police when she was being attacked by her abusive ex-boyfriend.

The municipality issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

The Municipality of Norristown has become aware that a lawsuit has been filed in Federal Court against the Municipality and several of its past and present officials by a resident, Lakisha Briggs. At this time, neither the Municipality, nor any of the individual defendants, have been served with the complaint, thus it is impossible to comment specifically on its content.

However, the Municipality understands that the lawsuit attacks both a provision of the Municipality’s Rental License Ordinance that was repealed by Municipal Council in 2012, and a new ordinance that was enacted by Council that made numerous revisions to the repealed provision. The new provisions of the Municipality’s Rental License Ordinance reflect the Municipality’s attempt to require landlords to assist in attempting to reduce incidences of disorderly behavior caused by tenants in the Municipality, which adversely affect the law-abiding citizens of Norristown.  

The ordinance provision currently in effect contains all of the constitutional due process provisions required to protect the residents of Norristown, explicitly stating that no property shall be condemned for any reason under Norristown’s property maintenance code based on occurrences of disorderly behavior, and stating that no tenant shall be evicted or forced to vacate a rental dwelling for violation of the ordinance provision. 

The ordinance provision allegedly being attacked by the lawsuit does not, in any way, discriminate against any persons, nor does it punish victims of domestic violence.  Domestic violence is abhorrent to society, and the Norristown Police Department remains constantly vigilant for those crimes. Until the lawsuit is served and reviewed by legal counsel, Norristown cannot respond to specific allegations.      

Robert Glisson, Interim Municipal Administrator

Read more about the lawsuit, the "Three Strikes" ordinance and download a full copy of the ACLU's complaint here.


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Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Haha, yeah, I'm the child here. Toni you're so poor that you live in a town surrounded by renters and can't afford to leave the neighborhood you loathe so much, you have a police file that you say has had "slow justice", which is just your rationalizion for the fact that the police don't want to waste their times and resources on your frivolous 'GET OFF MY LAWN' complaints. And, again, while you're whining on the internet about how you're the real victim here, the young lady you are so angry at is currently having the ACLU represent her. That's your real anger here-she's getting justice for her grievances and has the ACLU fighting for her, and you're mad because your grievances aren't important enough to the police to warrant wasting resources. This would make an adult, a responsible person, look at the situation and go "Hm, maybe my grievances aren't as justified, and maybe I'm scapegoating this young lady for my own failures to get justice." The immature white trash, which you are, Toni, responds to a young lady successfully seeking justice for her grievances by whining about how they're the real victim here, and say that she should be handling the process like you, who instead of having the ACLU representing you, is whining about the police not caring about your frivolous police reports in the time and speed you'd like. By all means, though, try and contradict something I've said with something relevant.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:29 PM
John Q Public, do you agree or disagree that small businesses are not the job creation devices you make them out to be, as clearly demonstrated I provided to you? That fixing a town's economic vitality requires far more than a magical pixie dust called small businesses? Note that the mom and pop shops you are advocating for are more likely to employ 20 workers than a few hundred. Hey doofus, I was talking specifically about the Ikea headquarters in Conshy. If small business is what's driving their economy, name me a small business that employs as many people as the Ikea headquarters and brings in as many revenues. Again, for all your hype about the magical solutions of small business, you are still unable to provide a single concrete example of a small business that revitalized phoenixville. You are right, though, I will be waiting a long time for the small businesses of Conshy to employ as many people as the larger businesses that have franchises or headquarters there...because, haha, the small businesses aren't what's driving Conshy's revitilization!
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Still can't name a single example of a small business that turned around Phoenxiville, huh? You seem unable to provide concrete examples of any of the generalities you put forward, and then when confronted with conflicting evidence that shows small businesses are not the pixie dust you make them out to be, you completely ignore them. Did you even comprehend the data I posted?
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Repartee-Conversation or speech characterized by quick, witty comments. Synonyms are retort and rejoinder. Color me shocked that uneducated John Q White Trash doesn't recognize a word that most students learn as freshman in high school. Obviously you don't understand the section 8 business if you don't think landlords are financially benefitting from the arangement and are victims. I didn't mention taxpayers when railing against the landlords, so again, try actually engaging with what I said, not what you wished I said. Judging from the education level of you, Toni, and optimist, I likely paid more in the estate tax than the three of you have paid into the tax system collectively. By all means though, tell me the burden section 8 puts on it's landlords. In particular, explain why they would prefer families who might die, lose a job, or a myriad of other issues that can prevent the payment of debt are a much better source of income than the government, which has more resources.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 08:51 PM
Simon, most folks estate's pay their estate taxes after death; I applaud you paying yours now. Yes, I do understand the word, 'repartee,' but was questioning your odd use of it. Again, your reading comprehension skills create problems for you. I agree with you that Section8 housing is bad for Norristown. Really, we are on the same page; no need for insults. It's just like your attendants told you; you are the smartest person in the room.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Simon, Bridge Street in Phoenixville is lined with business that thrive, and hire. That you would ask such a stupid question does not obligate me to reply. Get someone to give you a ride and see for yourself.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:57 PM
John Q Public, I paid the estate tax on money I inherited. Feel free to google my estate brokers, the Glenmedes, if you'd like. Again, you attacking my reading comprehension when you've straw manned me over and over again, and refuse to actually engage with any data, or to substantiate a single claim you made about small business revitalizing Phoenixville, is rich. When you actually begin engaging with what I say, I might take these reading comprehension complaints seriously. We are not on the same page. I am not arguing section 8 is bad for Norristown. I'm arguing that the landlords are as big a recipient, perhaps moreso, than the tenants, and deserve the blame. After all, they're the one's who own the properties in Norristown that accept section 8, remember? Substantiate just one of your generalities. Come on, you can do it, John Q White Trash!
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Again, still can't name a single business or provide any data, can you? Sorry, saying "BRIDGE STREET IS LINED WITH BUSINESSES THAT HIRE" does not prove that they are the what's revitalizing Phoenixville. Come on, since they're the big innovators and employers you claim they are without any data, you should be able to name one that has provided significant revenues and employment for the town.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Simon, years ago the federal government sued numerous landlords who refused to rent to Section8 folks. It's a fact; many landlords would have preferred to avoid the thuggish and violent oafs with no manners and even less brains of all races. It's not a race issue, as you suggest, but parasite, drunkard, drug-dealing, abusive boyfriends. Those lawsuits set public policy, so God help the landlord who tried to avoid a Section8 tenet. My solution: don't rent, but sell your properties.
Toni April 29, 2013 at 09:10 PM
I'm not exonerating the landlord. What am I exonerating him from? That would be implying that I think he did something wrong and it clearly states in the article that Norristown officials, through judicial action, had her removed, and those are the people the ACLU has named as part of this case. Exactly what are you implying the landlord is at fault for? I don't even think you know what you're talking about anymore.
Toni April 29, 2013 at 09:12 PM
hah Simon, you think welfare is important to society...as long as none of these "poor renters" (as you call them) live near you, am i riiighttt? Yeah that's what I thought...
Toni April 29, 2013 at 09:19 PM
Simon, you'll get that mortgage when you grow up one day, don't worry...well, maybe. You're taking this town ordinance thing really hard. Is your mom paying for your college apartment? Do you feel a kinship with this case because you got one too many noise violations and were forced back into the dorms? Must be hard.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Still refusing to substantiate a single one of your generalities, huh? Just throw out more generalities. Ah, some landlords took issue with providing section 8 and the government had to sue, ergo, all landlords are benevolent actors who would really prefer good, reasonable tenants to a nice fat check from the government. The vast majority of section 8 landlords who have no qualms accepting the government money are somehow rendered erroneous because of the actions of a few. This is literally your argument, and it's just as much absurd generalities at the last time. You're right, it's not a race issue, you just keep cloaking your comments and slanders in racially tinged language. Again, do you have any proof that your accustaions about the plantiff suing Norristown while you whine on a local patch are true, or are you just basing them off your nasty stereotype of poor renters. And, truly, if you think people purchasing homes in Norristown, where the average home sells for 130,000$, is going to change the environment rather than having renters, that's equally absurd. I mean, you do realize poor people can purchase homes and well off people can rent, correct?
gerhard sweetman April 29, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Extorsion: code enforcements gift to landlords & fed housing auth + Murphys law
Toni April 29, 2013 at 09:37 PM
"Simon: do you have any proof that your accustaions about the plantiff suing Norristown while you whine on a local patch are true" lolwut? Here's a link my friend nonliterate friend...at the top it says "LAKISHA BRIGGS VS.BOROUGH OF NORRISTOWN" http://www.aclu.org/files/assets/norristown_complaint.pdf Numerous times throughout the document, Darren Sudman is stated as saying that Briggs was a good tenant, paid on time, and that her removal would be a "significant loss to him." So again, why all this vitriol against the landlord when it was Norristown officials who sought her eviction?
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Simon, why the fixation on skin color? You KKK or something?
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Simon, you are strange. I said from the beginning that the women was blameless. How is it her fault that she likes violent men, so therefore frequently needs police protection? I blamed her boyfriends, not her. Also, you feel the taxes you paid on your inheritance makes you superior to folks who don't? Careful, or people might confuse you with Romney.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Yup, that explains it.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Simon, poor folks can purchase homes if they, like you, enjoy an inheritance. Otherwise, banks won't lend to them unless forced by government policy. You may recall the housing bubble, and meltdown caused, in part, by folks who had no business buying homes. You obviously dislike landlords, especially those catering to section8, as do I, so we do agree on that.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM
John, by your classist standards where the problems with Norristown are magically renters and section 8 leeches, yes, I would consider myself your superior because I have more money than you. Fortunately I don't attribute any actual worth to people's financial status. It's tough to take your sarcastic "HURF DURF SHE ISN'T TO BLAME FOR LOVING VIOLENT WOMEN' as a serious expression of empathy, as opposed to a condescending remark about her choice of men.
John Q. Public April 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Section8 leeches? Earlier it was the elderly you claimed were leeches. You have a leech fixation too. Also, "SHE ISN'T TO BLAME FOR LOVING VIOLENT WOMEN' What women is loving violent women? What are you talking about?
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM
I point out that the government suing some landlords for not accepting section 8 does not mean that, by and large, that landlords are not the primary financial recipient of section 8 money, and that they are being bludgeoned into a system that they benefit quite a bit from. To counter this point, Toni says that the landlord actually liked Mr Briggs, which I'm not quite sure how it connects to my statement on landlords being quite satisfied with the government checks from section 8. Why all this vitriol about landlords? Because you have people like you, optimist, and John Q Public making stupid generalities about section 8 people ruining everything, refuse to substantiate, and then act as if the landlords are victims being forced into a program they hate, which they happen to be actively benefiting financially from. Why all your rage at this case? Because you think this is removing a venue that you, as a home owner in a neighborhood so shoddy that you are apparently victims of crimes with active case files. I've got some advice for you if you look down on your section 8 neighbors so much-RELOCATE! You can't because, much like the people on section 8, you can't afford to.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Ah, yes, the housing bubble being caused exclusively by government forcing the banks to lend money to poor people, because banks have absolutely no agency and do not benefit at all from lending money. The massive amount of fraud committed by the financial industry, banks in particular, that nearly crashed the global economy might lead one to realize that banks are quite capable of behaving fraudulently and wrecking everything for us How many baseless generalizations are you going to put forward without any substantiation before we're done? I wonder who has a better ability to predict market behavior and housing fluctuations, the bank, or the poor person. Most people would say the bank, but nah, let's just absolve them with some reductionist nonsense about poor people getting houses causing the housing bubble crash. If you take issue with landlords because they are an unproductive exploitative leisure class that produces absolutely nothing of value, then we're in agreement. If your issue with landlords is that you live in a fantasy world where "get rid of renters and force people to buy" is seen as feasible solution to the problem in Norristown, and not a complete denial of reality, then we're not in agreement.
Simon Buckingham Is Not The Truth April 29, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Yes, and I as clarified, I don't actually consider the elderly leeches. However, judging by how much you whine about section 8 and government subsidies and interference, I find it odd that you do not apply this criticism to the biggest recipients of government subsidies, the elderly. Elderly people cost three times more in medicare than actually pay into the program, so by your section 8 government interference standard, that's a leech! I don't take issue with government subsidies to those who need financial help, on the other hand, and I think the elderly are an excellent example why I support them!
gerhard sweetman April 30, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Land use regs/laws by Feds, State, County, City, Loco NIMBY nuts. See the problem?
The optimist April 30, 2013 at 05:02 PM
plenty of jobs in Phoenixville... http://www.snagajob.com/jobs?t=full+time&s=pennsylvania&l=phoenixville or http://www.indeed.com/jobs?l=Phoenixville%2C+PA&radius=0
WowReally May 01, 2013 at 01:33 PM
People seem to ignore the fact that the rules were to make LANDLORDS accountable. Norristown is full of uncaring slumlords. Got a problem? Certain landlords will evict you if you call Code on them. They have even told tenants they can evict them if they call the cops to the house. We are so afraid of being kicked out so we say nothing. Ask people in Norristown that know her, Lakisha is not the innocent people here say she is. That guy was there all the time. SHE LET HIM IN. She refused to press charges. You just can't help people if they don't want it. Can't fix stupid. She just trying for money cuz the ACLU tells her there is one.
gerhard sweetman May 01, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Why? ACLU refuses to help stop home searches/inspections by code enforcements.
WowReally May 01, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Gerhard...you quick to blame code for what the landlords do. I live in Norristown and am glad they come by to inspect. They never search my stuff or act shady, just look at the place. You don't like it, buy a house.
gerhard sweetman May 01, 2013 at 06:13 PM
WR you dont like Bill of Rights, leave USA & live with dicktators & religious insanes. Morgages have clause for govt yearly searches/inspections, buy ticket to Russia.


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