In Florida, the city of Dunedin is facing criticism for attempting to foreclose a man’s home on a ludicrous charge.
Local officials are trying to take the home of 69-year-old Jim Ficken, for failing to keep up with his grass.
Ficken has accrued over $29,000 in a series of $500 per day fines after his lawn grew past the allowed 10 inch limit for more than eight weeks.
The problem is Ficken was out of town during that period in 2015, tending to the estate of his recently deceased mother.
He asserts that he had arranged for a friend to mow the lawn in his absence, but that fell through when the friend unfortunately died.
The homeowner returned and pleaded with the city over the near $30K in fines but his pleas fell on heartless ears. Inspectors declared Ficken a “repeat offender” and this week the city authorized the foreclosure of his home.
Fortunately the Institue for Justice heard of Ficken’s situation and has taken up his case against the city.
Ficken’s new attorney Ari Bargil declared, “Losing your home because you inadvertently let your grass get too long is the very definition of an excessive fine. No one should face crippling fines, let alone foreclosure, for trivial code violations.”
Bargil continued, “Jim asked the city if they would reconsider and give him a fair fine or a new hearing, but they rejected him. Now they are trying to take his home.”
This is certainly an instance where the punishment fails to meet the crime. Hopefully for Ficken justice will be done.