By now you’ve probably heard of Julie Bass, the Oak Park Michigan woman who was cited for planting a vegetable garden in her front yard. Some good news on that front: Prosecutors are now dropping the charges:
Charges against the woman who planted a vegetable garden in her front yard have been dropped, her attorney said Thursday.
But this, from Julie’s blog*:
on a dumber note, the city has decided to reinstate the case about our dog licenses. when they came over and saw we didn’t move the garden after their warning, they added a “no license” charge for our 2 dogs. we went within the week to pay for licenses and even paid late fees, and when we came to court the prosecutor asked to see the documentation that it had been taken care of.
Should I go with facepalm or facepalm collage? Collage:
I’m sure this issue will be covered to death, so let me make a slightly different point: This is a fantastic example of what can happen when you combine a poorly written law with an overzealous prosecutor. I cannot believe the word “suitable” made it into this statute. I mean, I can, because I know how poorly statutes are often worded. But people should realize that a statute written like this very literally means that a prosecutor (or anybody who has the power to issue a citation) can charge you with a crime – with the potential for jail time – because you did something that he doesn’t find “suitable.” Of course, like cancer, it’s one of those things that can never happen to you right up until the moment it happens to you. But it can happen. And it does.
Hell hath no fury like a prosecutor embarrassed.
*[By the way, Julie’s blog is rolling in hits these days. We’re doing pretty well over here, but damn. Getting cancer to draw blog hits was a huge miscalculation. If I would have known all I had to do was plant some turnips in the front yard, I could have saved a hell of a lot of hair and cells. A real misfire on my part.]