Stayed in Alabama a Day Too Long

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Alabama man Craig Boutwell filed an appeal of a condemnation order on his property, being taken by the state for highway-building eminent domain purposes. He filed 30 days after the order was filed in probate court, on the advice of a probate judge (not the same judge who filed the order) that this met the state's 30-day deadline for appeal. But since a judge had signed the order the day before it was officially filed, the Alabama Supreme Court started the count from the signing, not the filing, and says Boutwell was too late and has no further recourse.

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  1. BS, but why’d he wait so long in the first place?

  2. BS, but why’d he wait so long in the first place?

  3. BS, but why’d he wait so long in the first place?

  4. How do Libertarians reconcile their hate of eminent domain with their love of highways? Those highways didn’t all go through uncharted, unsettled wilderness…

  5. What an idiotic ruling. A Judge’s order is neither final nor official until it is filed. I know of no state that uses the day of signing rule. Liberty, again, bites the dust.

  6. What an idiotic ruling. A Judge’s order is neither final nor official until it is filed. I know of no state that uses the day of signing rule. Liberty, again, bites the dust.

  7. What an idiotic ruling. A Judge’s order is neither final nor official until it is filed. I know of no state that uses the day of signing rule. Liberty, again, bites the dust.

  8. What an idiotic ruling. A Judge’s order is neither final nor official until it is filed. I know of no state that uses the day of signing rule. Liberty, again, bites the dust.

  9. Mike, highways are generally considered legitimate public uses and thus appropriate for ED.

    However, you are correct. A pure strain of libertarianism would insist that privately owned highway builders acquire their rights of way thru voluntary purchases on the open market in the same way any developer generally has to assemble property for a project.

    It is worth noting that in this case the property owner was only disputing the valuation the state had determined. Unlike the Kelo case, where Ms Kelo and her neighbors absolutely rejected a sale at any price.

  10. The state should just wait 30 days after the judge signs before they file these things. That would do away with these pesky appeals entirely…

  11. Yeah, um, this sucks for this guy, but, if the state decided to steal my property, I can’t imagine waiting a whole 30 days, waiting until the very last minute, to file an appeal. What, couldn’t pull yourself away from American Idol for long enough to call a goddamned attorney? What a retard. I sometimes pay my city water/gas bill on the last day, sure, but what are the consequences? A few cents/day late fee?

  12. S, but why’d he wait so long in the first place?

    Yeah, um, this sucks for this guy, but, if the state decided to steal my property, I can’t imagine waiting a whole 30 days,

    Waiting until the last day is VERY common amongst lawyers and legal types. I don’t know why.

    Lot’s of people have been screwed because their attorneys waited until the last day and found they were a day or so off. I seem to remember a Death Row inmate getting it largely because his appeal was filed a day late.

  13. How do Libertarians reconcile their hate of eminent domain with their love of highways? Those highways didn’t all go through uncharted, unsettled wilderness…

    Man, where does one even start with a comment like this? First off, if you’ve ever driven on our nations freeways, some of them in fact do (did) go through unsettled wilderness. Second, for those that didn’t, a public highway is arguably the best use of E.D. It’s a public thoroughfare usable by everyone- not just the corporate tool that paid the right campaign contributions and bought the property. Third,in many cases, land owners were pretty well compensated for their land- although someone with a more detailed knowledge might dispute this.

    It’s not so much libertarians don’t like E.D., we just don’t like E.D. abuse. There is a clause in the constitution which allows for E.D. for Public Use. When taken for public use, one can argue the value of the particualar public use. But when E.D. is used for the vague and sinister ‘public purpose’ based upon a false notion of blight, then given to private developers for profit, then the landowners are given substandard compensation for property some of them didn’t want to sell in the first place? Them’s fightin’ words.

  14. Waiting until the last day is VERY common amongst lawyers and legal types. I don’t know why.

    Because the law in these kinds of cases is very much a waiting game. The more time you can cost the developers, the more likely they’ll cut and run.

    Death row cases work the same way. If you file the appeal right after the trial the issues you raise can be resolved before the original execution date. Instead you wait and file a last-minute appeal so the opposition has to wait until then to even start responding. As a result, your client lives a few more months.

    Unless you mess up, of course.

  15. if someone sues your client for some rediculous claim and you have thirty days to respond – if you wait until the end of the thirty days, that’s thirty days longer that those jokers aren’t getting your client’s money. and if they are really wanting the money, drawing out the process as long as possible makes them more likely to settle just to FINALLY get SOMETHING.

    that’s one reason at least. i don’t know why it took so long in this case.

    missing those deadlines can be a grounds for a malpractice suit. i can’t imagine someone being put to death because of their attorney’s obvious malpractice. (not the same as a less-than-stellar defense)

  16. larry a and downstater, that explains waiting…but not waiting until the last day.

    I can wait untl the last day and make my credit card payment online the day it’s due. But I also risk forgetting, computer problems, bank problems and other issue bond my control. So now I do it 2 or 3 days before it’s due. Lower risk and fewer last minute hitches.

    Same exact logic applies for legal issues. In any case, I hope this one goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  17. Ah, now…when did Mr. Boutwell _sign_ his appeal?

    Fair’s fair. Right?

  18. While I can see some of the justifications for waiting to file given in this thread, I can’t see any in this case.

    Takings for highway use are rarely (for all practical purposes – never) denied in court. The only thing contested is the price. I cannot see how this would be affected by any delay.

    Indeed takings for highway use are so certain that construction is sometimes complete long before the condemnation case is eventually settled.

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