May 10, 2021

The Editor Speaks: When kindness is rewarded with jail

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Colin Wilsonweb2The incident I am about to describe happened in the USA but could equally apply here.

A good friend of mine in the USA has a daughter who is, to use her words, too kind for her own sake.

The daughter, let’s call her Alice, has a property that she doesn’t live in, but she is paying a mortgage on it.

Alice befriends all the waifs and strays, although her mother calls them the undesirables of society.

Alice is finding it difficult to pay the mortgage even though she has two jobs and let the house to four of these undesirables without any lease who promised they would pay the mortgage if she would let them live there.

Against her mother’s strong advice she did because they had nowhere else to go and she was sorry for them.

Of course, they didn’t pay one cent of the mortgage.

She went to see them and they promised to pay.

They didn’t.

Yesterday she went to see them and told them if they didn’t pay up the rent this month and what was owing she would be serving an eviction notice on them, suggested by her mother.

They told her in my decent words to “go to hell”. She got angry and a fight ensued when one of the tenants hit her in the face.

She called the police.

The police arrived and found there were drugs on the premises. Everyone there was arrested including Alice because she was the owner of a property where drugs were being used.

The tenants, of course, told the police, Alice knew all about it. Alice did not know.

Alice spent the night in jail with prostitutes and drug addicts until being bailed out by her mother.
Now the advice on one of the websites to all this is to be kinder still. Alice should not have been angry with these tenants but should have been even more kind and tried to help them more.

Can they go stay with family or friends? Are there community resources that might be able to help with transitional housing? Be kind and helpful.

The writer of this doesn’t understand the real world.

The first thing you must do is to know what the law is and what her rights are. Every US state is different. Here in Cayman it is simple. One law.

Unfortunately for the owner the tenant does have a lot of rights too.

And when it comes to drugs being on your premises watch out.

Alice has been charged with “Constructive possession” and we have a similar law here.

In the US “Constructive possession is a legal fiction used to describe a situation where an individual has actual control over personal property, but not actual physical control. In other words, if the item is in your car, your room, or some area over which you have control, just not in your pocket, backpack, or in your hand. Under the laws of most states, a person with constructive possession is treated no differently than a person with actual possession.

“That means that for a constructive possession charge, one does not even need to be in the area of the contraband at the time it is discovered for a charge to stick, they just have to have the capacity to take physical possession of it when they choose. For example, if a car is sitting parked and turned off in your driveway with no one in it, nobody has physical possession of the vehicle. But, any person with the key to the car does have constructive possession because they can take physical possession of the car (and its contents) at any time.”

So Alice’s kindness will mean she is in deep trouble.

It is your responsibility to know what is going on in your property.

Kindness is not always rewarded. Only in heaven.

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