Category Archives: Rental Code

Red Wing Rental Code | Interview with Dana Berliner – Attorney for Institute for Justice

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
—Fourth Amendment
                        U.S. Constitution

On July 28, 2011,  I interviewed Dana Berliner.  She is the attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the plaintiffs before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of Red Wing’s rental code ordinance which allows for the issuance of search warrants to inspect homes, even without showing any reasonable suspicion that there may be code violations.

The issue currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court is whether the plaintiffs have “standing” (the right to sue) to challenge the ordinance before search warrants are actually issued.

One thing seems certain, this case, (which has been in the courts for five years and has cost local taxpayers about $200,000), will be coming back to the district court for further litigation.  Then up on appeal again to the Minnesota Supreme Court for a decision on the merits of the constitutional issues.

Listen to the interview with Ms. Berliner here.  She does a great job explaining what this case is about and why it should matter to you. Individuals would have hardly any ability to challenge government actions were it not for groups like the Institute for Justice.

Visit the Institute for Justice’s analysis and background of the case here. You can look at the categories on the right to view previous posts on this issue.

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Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council, Rental Code

Red Wing v. Constitution | MN Judicial Branch Oral Argument : A100332

The video is now up for viewing.

MN Judicial Branch Oral Argument : A100332.

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Court should stop Red Wing from bullying landlords and renters | Commentary | Minnesota Public Radio News

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“If the courts leave this law in place, the current Red Wing statute is by no means the end of the road for such inspections. Today it will be rental homes, but that tomorrow it will be all homes across the city. If the government is allowed to violate the rights of renters, who have expressly stated that they do not want government agents looking around their personal items, there will be nothing stopping those same government agents from forcing their way into owner-occupied homes, no matter how well-maintained they are.”

Court should stop city from bullying landlords and renters | Commentary | Minnesota Public Radio News.

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Red Wing Rental Inspections – Release: 5-2-11 | The Institute for Justice

Red Wing Rental Inspections – Release: 5-2-11 | The Institute for Justice.

Watch oral arguments here tonight after 5 p.m.

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Filed under Accountability, Government's Footprint, Minnesota, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council, Rental Code

Appellant’s Brief in City Rental Code Case

Here is Appellant’s Brief in the rental code case.  This lays out their legal arguments on the standing and privacy issues.

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Filed under Red Wing, Rental Code

Red Wing Rental Code Litigation

The City of Red Wing has filed a response in opposition to the Plaintiff’s request for accelerated review by the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Read the City’s response here.

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Filed under Accountability, Minnesota, Open Meeting Law/ Data Practices, Red Wing, Rental Code

Rental Code Appeal

Below are documents related to the Rental Code appeal. The Plaintiffs are asking for the MN Supreme Court to accept the case and thus bypass the MN Court of Appeals.  I’ve also included the press release from the Institute of Justice.

I wonder whether the City has made a good faith effort to resolve this case.  How would we know?

Statement of the Case

Petition for Accelerated Review

Press release re PAR 2-23-10

State v. Larsen (Ice House search case) from Larsen:

“The right to be free from unauthorized entry into one’s abode is ancient and venerable.  As William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, so vividly put it in 1766:

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown.  It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storm may enter, the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

Speech on the Excise Bill, House of Lords (1766),inThe MacMillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases 1191-92 (Burton Stevenson ed., 1948).  Similarly, the dissenting opinion of Justice Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), memorably captures the importance of this fundamental right:

[T]he right to be left alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.  To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment.” Id. at 478 (Brandeis, J., dissenting).

Update: The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, and the St. Paul Association of Responsible Landlords have filed requests to file Amicus (friend of the Court) briefs in this case.

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Filed under Accountability, Open Meeting Law/ Data Practices, Red Wing, Red Wing City Council, Rental Code