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7th Circuit affirms ruling against woman kicked out of public housing

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A woman who challenged the Housing Authority of South Bend’s decision to terminate her lease for federally subsidized public housing because of criminal activity lost her appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Bridgett Stevens v. Housing Authority of South Bend, Indiana, et al. and State of Indiana, No. 10-2724, Bridgett Stevens filed a lawsuit after receiving a notice from the housing authority that alleged she violated lease provisions that prohibited criminal activity on the property. A shooting between Stevens’ daughter’s boyfriend and the father of her children led to the first notice. She received two subsequent notices after police responded to her apartment to investigate a fight and the discovery of marijuana at the apartment. She left the apartment after the third notice.

Her lawsuit – which only dealt with the first notice – alleged that the HASB and other individuals violated the Fair Housing Act, the 14th Amendment, and the Indiana law. The District Court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding her challenges to the Indiana ejectment statute to be moot because she left after she received the second and third notices and that her due process rights weren’t violated because she was held responsible for the actions of persons who were not under her control. It found although one of the men involved in the shooting was not literally under her control in the colloquial sense, he was present at the apartment only because a household member had invited him.

“Given that she ultimately left her apartment for reasons unrelated to the acts that form the basis of the lawsuit, the appropriate question is whether she retains a legally cognizable interest in the outcome of the suit and whether the court’s decision could affect her rights,” wrote Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner. “Injunctive relief is therefore no longer available to her. Declaratory relief suffers from the same mootness problem because it would have no impact on Stevens going forward.”

The judges also noted that the fact Stevens lied on her application about ever having lived in public housing and the presence of illegal drugs in her apartment would support terminating the lease.  
 

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  1. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  2. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  3. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

  4. I'm going to court the beginning of Oct. 2015 to establish visitation and request my daughters visits while she is in jail. I raised my grandchild for the first two and half years. She was born out of wedlock and the father and his adopted mother wantwd her aborted, they went as far as sueing my daughter for abortion money back 5mo. After my grandchild was born. Now because of depression and drug abuse my daughter lost custody 2 and a half years ago. Everyting went wrong in court when i went for custody my lawyer was thrown out and a replacment could only stay 45 min. The judge would not allow a postponement. So the father won. Now he is aleinating me and my daughter. No matter the amount of time spent getting help for my daughter and her doing better he runs her in the ground to the point of suicide because he wants her to be in a relationship with him. It is a sick game of using my grandchild as a pawn to make my daughter suffer for not wanting to be with him. I became the intervener in the case when my daughter first got into trouble. Because of this they gave me her visitation. Im hoping to get it again there is questions of abuse on his part and I want to make sure my grandchild is doing alright. I really dont understand how the parents have rights to walk in and do whatever they want when the refuse to stand up and raise the child at first . Why should it take two and a half years to decide you want to raise your child.The father used me so he could finish college get a job and stop paying support by getting custody. Support he was paying my daughter that I never saw.

  5. Pence said when he ordered the investigation that Indiana residents should be troubled by the allegations after the video went viral. Planned Parenthood has asked the government s top health scientists at the National Institutes of Health to convene a panel of independent experts to study the issues surrounding the little-known branch of medicine.

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