Sunday, June 20, 2010

Drug Legislation - Alabama

I have no idea what happened to this piece of legislation since its introduction in Alabama in 1996. I was unable to find out about amendments, debate and passage of the proposal. Read the bill (presented here in part) to discover how property owners and other residents may find relief when confronted with a neighborhood that includes a residing drug dealer. Some of the information may be relative to changing the laws that require Ohio residents to acquire so much proof and investigation before action can be taken against these criminals.

In order to provide a civil remedy for the abatement of drug-related nuisances, S. 141, Act No. 96-566 by Alabama Senator McClain was proposed in 1996 for these reasons:

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of Alabama:

Section 1.  The Legislature finds and declares the following:

    (1) There is a drug crisis in the State of Alabama which
is plaguing our neighborhoods and our housing and rental

    (2) Drugs have caused an increase in crime and violence and a
deterioration in the habitability of housing and rental
accommodations, as well as diminished property values.

    (3) Currently there are inadequate incentives for property
owners to take a more active role in preventing the use of their
property for the manufacture, use, sale, storage, or distribution of
Filing a complaint in the circuit courts of the county 
Section 3.  Wherever there is reason to believe that a
drug-related nuisance exists, the Attorney General, district
attorney, the attorney for the county or municipality, a person
residing in the county in which the property is located including a
tenant of the property, or any community-based organization, may
file an action in the circuit courts of this state to abate, enjoin, and
prevent the drug-related nuisance. The actions shall be commenced
by the filing of a complaint in circuit court of the county in which
the nuisance is situated alleging the facts constituting the
drug-related nuisance.
Section 4. 
(a) The complaint or an affidavit attached thereto
shall describe the adverse impact associated with the drug-related
nuisance upon the surrounding neighborhood. Adverse impact
includes, without limitation, the presence of any one or more of the
following conditions: 
Descriptions of adverse impact associated with the drug-related 
(1) Diminished property value.

(2) Increased fear of residents to walk through or in public
areas, including sidewalks, streets, alleys, and parks.

(3) Increased volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic to and
from the property.

(4) An increase in the number of ambulance or police calls to the
property which are related to the use of drugs, or to violence
stemming from drug-related activity. 
(5) Bothersome solicitors or approaches by strangers wishing to
sell drugs, or the aggressive solicitation of aims, on or near the

(6) The display of dangerous weapons on or near the property.

(7) Investigative purchases of drugs by law enforcement officers
on or near the property.

(8) Arrests of persons on or near the property. 
(9) Housing code violations relating to the property, 
(10) Health code violations relating to the property.

(11) Accumulation of trash and refuse in common areas on or
adjacent to the property.

(12) Unsecured entryways on the property.

(13) Loitering. 
(14) Unreasonable noise. 
(15) Search warrants served or executed at the property. 
(16) The number of complaints made to law enforcement and
other government officials about the alleged illegal activity
associated with the property. 
(17) The discharge of a firearm at the property. 
(18) Violations of zoning laws or regulations at the property.
    (b) The complaint shall contain a description of attempts made
by the plaintiff, or any other person or entity, to notify the owner of
the property on which the drug-related nuisance is situated and the
resulting adverse impact thereof. No complaint shall be flied unless
there has been at least one notice to the owner of the alleged
drug-related nuisance 21 days prior to the filing of the complaint.
Notice shall be served on the owner in accordance with the Alabama
Rules of Civil Procedure. If personal service can not be made,
service may be made by posting the papers at the property.

    (c) When an action is brought under this act by a private
individual, the complaint shall be supported by at least five
residents residing or owning real property within 1,000 feet of the
premises alleged to be a drug-related nuisance. The support shall be
in the form of an affidavit attesting to the fact that the residence of
the affiliate is within 1,000 feet of the alleged drug-related nuisance,
and that the affiliates have witnessed the alleged drug-related
nuisance, and are aware of an adverse impact of the alleged
drug-related nuisance.

Section 5.  A copy of the summons and complaint shall be
served upon the defendant at least five business days prior to the
first hearing in the action. Service shall be made in accordance with
the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. 1f personal service cannot be
made, service may be made by posting the papers at the property. If
service is made by posting papers to the property, a copy of the
summons and complaint shall be mailed to the last known mailing
address, if any, of the defendant.
Section 6. 
(a) Upon a filing of a motion for a preliminary
injunction to abate the drug-related nuisance, the plaintiff shall be
entitled to a hearing on the motion within 10 business days of the
filing. If it appears by affidavit or otherwise, that there is a
substantial likelihood that the plaintiff will be able to prove a
drug-related nuisance by a preponderance of evidence, the circuit
court may issue a preliminary injunction and grant other relief as
the court may deem to be appropriate, including those remedies
provided by Section 14.

    (b) When appropriate, the court shall order the trial of the
action on the merits to be advanced and consolidated with the
hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction.

    (c) This section shall not be construed to prohibit the application
for or the granting of a temporary restraining order or other
equitable relief provided by law.
Section 7. 
(a) The court, upon the application of the plaintiff,
may issue an ex parte restraining order, restraining the defendant
and all other persons from removing, or in any manner interfering
with, the personal property and contents of the place where the
drug-related nuisance is alleged to exist, until a decision of the
court granting or refusing to grant a temporary injunction, or until
further order of the court.

    (b) The restraining order may be served by handing it to and
leaving a copy of the order with any person appearing to reside
therein, or by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place at or
upon one or more of the principal doors or entrances to the place, or
by both delivery and posting.
(c) The officer serving a restraining order shall forthwith
attempt to make and return to the court an inventory of the
personal property and contents situated in, and apparently used in,
conducting or maintaining the drug-related nuisance. Any violation
of the restraining order shall be a contempt of court, and where the
order is posted, if it is removed or mutilated while it remains in
force, is a contempt of court, provided that the posted order contains
a notice to that effect.
Section 8.   In any action brought under this act, the
complainants may request, and the court at its discretion may order
a civil penalty of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day
the nuisance exists, with the penalty payable to the general fund of
the municipality in which the nuisance was located, or one-half to
the state and one-half to the general fund of the county if situated
outside the boundaries of a municipality.
Section 9.  If proof of the existence of the drug-related
nuisance depends, in whole or in part, upon the affidavits of
witnesses who are not law enforcement officers, upon a showing of
prior threats of violence or acts of violence by any defendant or
other person using the property alleged to be a drug-related
nuisance, the court may issue orders to protect those witnesses,
including, but not limited to, nondisclosure of the name, address, or
any other identifying information.
Section 10.  A previous conviction of the defendant, or
anyone, shall not be required to demonstrate a drug-related
Section 11.  No security bond shall be required to issue a
preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order sought by the
Attorney General, district attorney, or an attorney appearing for the
county or municipality. Otherwise, at the discretion of the court, a
security bond may be required to issue a preliminary injunction or
temporary restraining order. Where relief is issued after an
evidentiary hearing at which witnesses are subject to cross
examination, the court shall not require a security bond in excess of
one thousand dollars ($1,000).
Section 12.  In an action brought under this act, evidence of
the general reputation of the property of the defendant shall be
admissible for the purpose of proving a drug-related nuisance, and
for the purpose of proving the knowledge of the defendant of the
drug-related nuisance.

Section 13. 
(a) If a complaint is filed by a private citizen, it
may not be dismissed except upon a sworn statement by the
complainant and his or her attorney, setting forth the reason why
the action should be dismissed. A copy of the sworn statement shall
be sent to the Attorney General and the district attorney at least
seven days prior to its presentment to the court.

    (b) If the court is of the opinion that the action should not to be
dismissed, it may direct the district attorney or prosecuting
attorney to prosecute the action to judgment.
(c) Any citizen of the county in which the alleged drug-related
nuisance is located, or an interested community-based organization,
may be substituted for the complainant and prosecute the action to

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