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TRATON HEADLINE: Elderly Woman StripSearched in Power-Line Dispute - Erosion of Property Rights in Georgia
Sue Worley, a 60-year-old woman and life-long resident of Barrow County, Georgia, was arrested and strip-searched when she approached employees of the Georgia Transmission Corporation about an installation of a high-power transmission line that was going to be erected on her property. When surveyors showed up, Worley said she went down the road to talk. According to Worley, she did not threaten anyone. However, the Barrow County deputy working with the surveyors called for backup, and two sheriff's cars arrived. The officers handcuffed and arrested

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Worley, who was charged with disorderly conduct. “I was in the car and I went all the way to the jail handcuffed,” she said. Worley was booked into the jail, patted down and strip searched. “She sprayed me down with lice spray. It was so humiliating,” Worley said. “They made a criminal out of me.” The charges were eventually dropped. The story was so shocking that Action News (channel 2), WSB-TV, covered it, showing Worley's distress as a result of the whole incident. Many, including popular radio-show hosts Bert, Melissa, and Jenn (from All-the-Hits-Q100) believe that this is a prime example of a large corporation's bullying tactics against relatively helpless homeowners. In short, governmental resources (e.g., police officers) are being bought by corporations to intimidate and coerce homeowners solely for the profitability of large corporations. According to some that have called up the radio station, this is simply another example of how homeowners' rights are being curtailed. While some may believe this to be an isolated incident, other examples of how homeowners' rights are being eroded can be found by simply perusing through the court records in Georgia.

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One example is a lawsuit by a homeowner against a large subdivision developer, Traton Corp. In the lawsuit, the homeowner showed that,

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during construction of the subdivision, Traton drove large construction vehicles over the homeowner's yard, thereby repeatedly destroying the yard over the course of many months. Traton virtually admitted to the encroachment, yet the Court of Appeals ruled that the homeowner had no right to prevent others from damaging the very property that is adjacent to the home and detrimentally affects the value of the home. In an effort to protect his home, the homeowner has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear this matter, since, according to the petition, the ruling by the Court of Appeals eviscerates every homeowner's property right.

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Some have speculated that, like the Worley incident, this lawsuit is simply another incident in which a large corporation, Traton, is using governmental resources to intimidate a relatively-helpless homeowner. Irrespective of whether those speculations have merit, it is clear from the current appellate decision that the Georgia Court of Appeals has no hesitation in curtailing homeowners' property rights. With the current trend in the erosion of property rights, it is expected that Worley, and others in that area, will have to start enjoying the view of the high-power transmission line by late-2008 or early-2009.

1 READER COMMENTS:

Anonymous said... That's an incredibly well-written petition for certiorari. Was it

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That's an incredibly well-written petition for certiorari. Was it granted? And, how on earth could you have lost this at the trial level and the court of appeals? Maybe the judges were bought off by Traton Corp. Given the backwards nature of Georgia, I wouldn't doubt that Traton simply greased the skids by paying off the judge or asking the judge for favors.
Monday, January 7, 2008 6:46:00 PM PST Post a Comment

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GEORGIA NEWS

Longtime head of Hispanic chamber dies Remember Nader? Politico returns to Emory Witness: Winder GI didn't know if he shot Iraqi State ends contract with Office Depot Heavy lifting still awaits at Legislature's halfway mark

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

ALI, ABDUS-SHAHID M. S. v. FED. BUREAU OF PRISONS, ET AL.. Decided 01/22/2008 KNIGHT, MICHAEL J. v. CIR. Decided 01/16/2008 NY BD. OF ELECTIONS, ET AL. v. TORRES, MARGARITA L., ET AL.. Decided 01/16/2008 STONERIDGE INVESTMENT v. SCIENTIFIC-ATLANTA, INC., ET AL.. Decided 01/15/2008 JOHN R. SAND & GRAVEL CO. v. UNITED STATES. Decided 01/08/2008

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