24 Heroes SWAT 75-Year-Old Man

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Over his “unkempt” property: 

In the small Wisconsin town of Stettin, they have an interesting way of collecting judgements. The town sent a militarized SWAT team complete with 24 armed officers and an armored vehicle to collect $86,000 owed by one 75-year-old man.

Roger Hoeppner has been tied up in a long legal battle with the town over the maintenance of his land, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The town says it has been attempting to get Hoeppner to clean up his 20 acres of land for years, to no avail. It has won several court cases against him and said he has not abided by previous agreements to straighten up his property.

In April 2013, a court imposed a $500 per day fine on Hoeppner until he cleaned the land to the town’s satisfaction.

On Oct. 2,  the town obtained a court order to collect $80,000 Hoeppner owed in back fines — and that’s when things got interesting. Stettin officials decided the best way to collect the funds was to send a small army to the septuagenarian’s home.

When Hoeppner saw the military force assembled outside his front door, he called his lawyer, Ryan Lister, who took off for his client’s house immediately. Unfortunately, he was stopped at a roadblock the town set up until his client was led away in handcuffs, according to the Journal Sentinel.

“Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment,” Lister told the newspaper.

The reasoning used by officials is a scary glimpse into the fact that Gestapo tactics may become commonplace in the near future.

Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said that while Hoeppner was not considered dangerous,  he was known to be argumentative.

“People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

At the end of the conflict — at gunpoint, essentially — Hoeppner paid his fines. That is, after he was driven to a bank by sheriff’s deputies.

I think I’ve seen some similar methods used in Mafia movies.

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  1. “People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    About 550 days @ $500/day ≈ $22,500
    Plus other fines

    It is a nice racket if you can get it. (I would not be surprised if this a bunch of petty offenses. ie no real harm and/or victim)

    • The real injustice is that the state has (for all practical purposes) unlimited resources to pursue (often petty) actions against individual citizens. The individual citizens are forced to spend their own (often limited) resources defending themselves against the state.

      Even if the individual is successful in defending themselves against the actions of the state, the defense can financially (and sometimes physically and/or emotionally) drain the individual leaving them in a “broken” state. The state just continues on its merry way to attack another individual in the future.

      • It’s designed that way Mith, for obvious reasons. One of the best defenses is that once receiving a notice of demand of any kind, within 3 days, reply with a letter of Conditional Acceptance, that you’ll promise to pay but ask them to clarify certain points that they know they can’t defend or answer without lying, but legally they must supply the information.

        At the end of the letter, put them on notice that a failure of full disclosure on their part or to reply within 7, 10, 15 days – whatever, will constitute nullification of their claim in full satisfaction and accord of your terms.

        This puts them in a bind and the fact that you promised to pay if they fulfilled the conditions, keeps the matter out of court because there is no argument for any judge to consider. There is only agreement.

        More info – Rebutting Presumptions by Bill Turner:



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