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Judges uphold sale of properties in tax sale

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a property owner’s motion for relief from judgment after his two parcels were sold in a Marion County tax sale. The man argued the notices sent by officials didn’t comply with statutory requirements and he was denied due process.

In Booker T. Prince, Jr. v. Marion County Auditor and Marion County Treasurer, 49A02-1210-MI-835, Booker Prince owned adjoining parcels of land in Indianapolis: An apartment building was located on one parcel and a parking lot on the other. He relocated to California and provided the Marion County auditor with a post office box in California for correspondence. He also had an office in the apartment building but did not give the auditor the unit or number.

After Prince failed to pay taxes, in 2010 the auditor sent the notice of the tax sale, the notice of the right of redemption, and the notice of petition for tax deed to the apartment building, to Prince’s California post office box via certified mail and to Prince’s California post office box via first class mail. All of the notices sent to the apartment building were returned to the auditor indicating that the property was vacant. However, Prince received the notice of tax sale that was sent to his post office box via certified mail. None of the notices that the auditor sent to Prince’s post office box via first class mail were returned to the auditor.

Prince filed his motion for relief from judgment after learning from his apartment manager that people arrived at the building claiming to be the new owners. The trial court found the auditor’s efforts to notify Prince of the sale, redemption period and issuance of the tax deed were constitutionally and statutorily sufficient.

The government officials conceded that the application for judgment filed with the court lacked the dates of mailing of the pre-sale notice and the dates of publication for the parcels at issue. But the Court of Appeals concluded the officials nonetheless provided Prince with notice of the sale. He signed for the certified copy of the notice and admits to owing back taxes.

“While it would have been better for the court to require the officials to provide all of the information set forth in Indiana Code section 6-1.1-24-4.6(b), there is sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s findings and conclusions that the application substantially complied with the statutory requirements,” Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote.

The appeals court also found the auditor substantially complied with the statutes governing notices and the manner of service the auditor chose was reasonably calculated under the circumstances to apprise Prince of the pendency of the action and allow him a chance to object.

 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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