Sheriff Arrests Tampa Pastor for Burglary after Pastor Sues Sheriff for Adverse Possession Harassment
7 October 2012 by Bob Hurt
Tampa Florida, 7 October 2012 – Hillsborough County Florida Deputies Van Pelt, Vasquez, and Lott arrested Tampa Pastor Tami Robinson and parishioner Samantha Gavin, both African Americans, at Gavin’s Tampa home at 8:45 P.M. Sunday night for Adverse Possession of a home abandoned in foreclosure. Robinson had filed a notice of adverse possession several weeks earlier. Gavin resided in the home. And, Robinson had just hand-served Deputies a Declaratory Judgment lawsuit for earlier related harassment at a different adverse possession home. Deputies charged the women with invasion by false personation, organized fraud, burglary of unoccupied dwelling, and grand theft, setting bonds at $69,500. Conviction on all counts could result in enormous fines and lengthy prison terms even though no equitable owner accused the women of trespass.
How Sheriffs Harass Adverse Possessors
The squatters file a Notice and Affidavit of Adverse Possession of abandoned, deteriorating homes in accordance with Florida Statute 95.18 and 600 years of Florida and English common law.
The County Property Appraiser notifies both the equitable owner (mortgagor) and the Sheriff or Police Chief of the adverse possession.\
Law enforcers visit the property and interview the squatter who usually admits information the law enforcers consider violations of law
Law enforcers contact the equitable owner and stir up the owner’s anxiety against the squatter by implying that the owner will bear responsibility for the damage the squatter does to the property. Often they cannot make such contact. If they do, they suggest the owner should write and sign a trespass warning.
Law enforcers visit the property and harass the squatters, ordering them to move or face arrest, often without any complaint or permission to do so from the owner.
Law enforcers arrest the adverse possessor and/or resident under charges of breaking and entering, burglary, criminal mischief, grand theft, scheme to defraud, and so on.
The adverse possessors typically pay the bail of $500 to $6,000 which exposes them to severe financial hardship and makes it impossible to afford an attorney.
The adverse possessors accept a felony conviction through a plea bargain that leaves them wearing an alarm ankle bracelet or doing jail time.
Some adverse possessors lose their household possessions and their jobs through the process, and their family members and friends shun them.
Sheriff Targets African Americans, Even Pastors
Sheriffs have arrested numerous African Americans in connection with adverse possession over the past two years, including Chris McDonald of Valrico, George Williams of Plant City, Demetrius Lewis of Pasco, Shalonda Allen of Pasco, Maurice Jennings of Pasco, Roosevelt Mitchell of Marion, Byron Parris of Miami.
How Everyone Benefits from Adverse Possession
Robinson believes everyone benefits from adverse possession by responsible people. The day before her arrest, she explained: “Adverse possessors keep thieves and vandals at bay, make the home look nice again, keep the air conditioner running to prevent mold and mildew contamination, use insecticide and cleanliness to eliminate bugs, rats, and other pests, make the community look inhabited, routinely maintain the home, and perform the normal services of a good neighbor in the neighborhood. With adverse possession, everybody wins and nobody loses.”
Why Sheriffs Falsely Arrest Adverse Possessors: Jealousy
“I see it as Economic jealousy and overzealous policing, pure and simple,” he said in an interview Sunday evening after the arrest. “Government has started penalizing these two innocent women for following Florida Law, filing notice of adverse possession in accordance with that law, and actually taking possession pursuant to the Constitutions and laws of the US and Florida, and beginning their process of improving the property. Robinson showed to the deputies the DR 452 Notice of Adverse Possession she had filed. The deputies had no legitimate purpose in arresting them merely for acting on their statutory and common law rights. Only the due process of an eviction proceeding can remove a person in peaceful possession of real property. Under Article I sections 1, 9, and 23 of the Florida Constitution, if no owner or owner agent is present to accuse you of trespassing or signs a trespass warning, law enforcers and prosecutors have no business intruding into the adverse possessor’s life.”
Pastor Sues Sheriff for Adverse Possession Harassment
The lawsuit explains the nature of the harassment as abuse of civil rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, and the legal basis of the adverse possessor’s rights. The pleading recognized the egregious nature of such harassment against which most victims have little or no defense, owing to the high cost of legal assistance. It asks the court to declare Robinson’s rights with respect to adverse possession, and to enjoin the Sheriff and deputies to leave her alone, barring any court order or trespassing complaint from the actual owner.
Writ of Amparo Sought for Protection
Public Attention Warranted
Dr. Charles Lincoln said that he will take calls for the defendants because of his intimate understanding of the circumstances. For more information contact him at 310 978 7638 (phone/text).
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